The US Army announced on Thursday that it would no longer pursue the development of its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), a next-generation scout helicopter, after investing approximately $2 billion in the programme.
The FARA programme was initiated by the US Army in 2018 to develop a new generation of armed, agile, and stealthy helicopters that could operate in complex and contested environments. The FARA was intended to fill the gap left by the retirement of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters and to complement the AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
The US Army stated that after a “sober assessment of the modern battlefield” it would instead increase investment in unmanned aircraft.
“We are learning from the battlefield – especially in Ukraine – that aerial reconnaissance has fundamentally changed,” Army Chief of Staff General Randy George said.
“Sensors and weapons mounted on a variety of unmanned systems and in space are more ubiquitous, further reaching and more inexpensive than ever before.”
Sikorsky said in a statement that its X2 aircraft, designed for the FARA program, offered “speed, range and agility that no other helicopter in the world can match.”
“We remain confident in X2 aircraft for U.S. and international mission needs now and in the future,” Sikorsky said. “We are disappointed in this decision and will await a U.S. Army debrief to better understand its choice.”