Fort Rucker gets glimpse of future in Aviation Industry Days

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:20 PM CDT
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The future of Army aviation is on Fort Rucker this week for Aviation Industry Days.

After no Aviation Industry Days in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the expo is back on Fort Rucker.

“The purpose of Industry Day is to level communications with industry between the government and industry,” said Major General David Francis, Commanding General of Fort Rucker.

Although there was no event last year, Army leaders were still busy at work to make sure they were up to date on the latest modernizations.

“There are no surprises that are coming up in this industry day but the opportunity to have that face-to-face dialogue is extremely important to this effort and allows us to have a more open communication with a larger audience and so that’s really the benefit of it,” General Francis added.

The biggest part of this event, the future vertical lift effort for new aircraft between Sikorsky and Bell.

If chosen, Sikorsky features the Defiant X and Raider X helicopters which would replace the Blackhawk and assume the role of the Army’s armed reconnaissance aircraft.

“It has a flexible cabin for personnel cargo fuel, ammunition, or urgent casevac operations it is two pilot fly by wire flight control system, retractable landing gear,” said Mike Mudd with Sikorsky Aircraft.

Both aircraft have similar designs with the Defiant X being a larger version.

While Bell features the v-280 Valor and 360 Invictus that would replace the aircraft if chosen.

“This happens to be the Bell 360 Invictus, this is our offering for the future attack reconnaissance aircraft priority for future vertical lift,” said Carl Coffman with Bell Aircraft. “We’ve also got the V-280 Valor, which is the entrant and the current future long range assault aircraft competition.”

The Army is hoping to award a contract to a winner in the 2022 fiscal year.

Fort Rucker wraps up the Aviation Industry Days expo on Thursday.

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