Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Drones replacing Army helicopter program

Drones (US Army/Released)
February 14, 2024

The U.S. Army announced its plans to end all efforts to the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program (FARA) at the end of fiscal year 2024, which was intended to develop a replacement for the retired Bell OH-58 helicopter.

According to Forbes, the change is due to Army officials recognizing the need to adjust development approaches to keep the service’s capabilities in line with the current use of technology in war.

“We absolutely are paying attention to (world events) and adjusting because we could go to war tonight, this weekend,” head of Army Futures Command Gen. James Rainey said.

Rainey’s statement was seconded by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George in a press release, where he stated, “We are learning from the battlefield, especially Ukraine, that aerial reconnaissance has fundamentally changed. Sensors and weapons mounted on a variety of unmanned systems and in space are more ubiquitous, further reaching, and more inexpensive than ever before.” 

READ MORE: 5 Marines killed in helicopter crash identified

The Army has already invested nearly $2 billion in the FARA program and requested another $5 billion for the program over the next five years. Objectives detailed in the fiscal planning, such as replacing the UH-60 Lima-model Black Hawk utility helicopter, will end with the UH-60 Mike-models selected for fielding.

Shadow and Raven unmanned aircraft fleets will be declared obsolete and offloaded. The service plans to delay the development and procurement of updated helicopter engines that were set to be used in all UH-60s and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

Instead, the Army will utilize the funds for Black Hawk helicopters, CH-47F Block II Chinook cargo helicopters, and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. Other funds are earmarked for research and development towards unmanned aerial reconnaissance efforts. 

According to Defense News, despite the closure of the program resulting in the loss of a helicopter the Army spent billions to develop, Gen. James Rainey, acquisition leader for the program, doesn’t see it as a failure.

“We are making great process, we have momentum, the overwhelming majority of our signature modernization efforts are either on time or ahead of schedule and are starting to translate into capabilities,” Rainey said.