Helis, September 22, 2019 - On September 16, the US Marine Corps (USMC) issued a Request for Information (RoI) to the industry for a replacement for the UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters.
The Attack Utility Replacement Aircraft or AURA program formally initiates a long process for a search for proposals for a next generation aircraft for the Marines.
With AURA the USMC is taking advantage of all the work manufacturers are already doing for the US Army' Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FRLAA) which aims to replace the Black Hawk.
The Marines are pushing forward the Army request with a combat radius without refueling of 450 nm / 830 km and a cruise speed of 295 kt / 540 km/h. According Lieutenant General Steven Rudder, USMC Aviation deputy commandant, these higher requirements are to allow the new aircraft to keep up with the MV-22B Osprey currently in use by the service.
Another important part of the request is for both the attack and utility variants to have as much commonality as possible. The current AH-1Z and UH-1Y shares more than 80% of parts.
As with the FRLAA, NAVAIR, the Navy's agency in charge of acquisitions, also plans to award “concept advancement contracts” to multiple vendors sometime between 2020 and 2023 before the final decision is made.
The Industry responses for the RoI are scheduled for December this year and the main candidates are suppose to be based on the Bell V-280 Valor and the Sikorsky/Boeing SB>1 Defiant.