Boeing unveils Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft concept
Boeing has revealed its entry for the US Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) prototype competition. The conceptual rotorcraft is one of five competing designs by Boeing, Bell, AVX Aircraft, Karem Aircraft, and Sikorsky to replace the Army's Cold War-era Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters.
Boeing has so far kept its FARA concept well under wraps and still hasn't released any specifications, but we now have new images and a description of some of the features of the advanced tandem, two-seater combat helicopter. Designed to meet Army requirements, it's intended to not only meet future battlefield threats but also to facilitate easier maintenance and upgradeability.
Boeing says the FARA in its present form uses an all-new, six-bladed, single-main rotor powered by a single engine and controlled by a fly-by-wire system. There is also a push-propeller for greater maneuverability and horizontal flight at speeds exceeding those of current helicopters.
Up front, there is an advanced, narrow-cross-section cockpit with tandem seating and an intuitive common control interface for both of the crew. This includes flexible avionics, autonomous capabilities, and a large, reconfigurable display with touch screen capabilities.
When in the hangar, the Boeing FARA has a number of maintenance innovations, including the ability to reload munitions faster by eliminating the need for supplemental lifts. It also has an onboard diagnostics system that operates in real-time and can adjust to degraded conditions. The aircraft is also being designed with open architecture, so it can be readily upgraded.
"We’re offering more than a helicopter – we’re offering an affordable and fully integrated system for the Army, the mission and the future," says Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Phantom Works. "We’ve blended innovation, ingenuity and proven rotorcraft experience with extensive testing and advanced analysis to offer a very compelling solution."