AHS, VLC Join Forces

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Mike Hirschberg

December 18, 2015

AHS, VLC Join Forces to Win
Major New Funding for Future Vertical Lift

Congressional support key to success of revolutionary rotorcraft initiative

Washington, D.C. — The American Helicopter Society (AHS) International and the Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) are pleased to announce that Congress added new funding for the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) research and development (R&D) effort in the defense portion of the year-end Omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2016. It is the second straight year that Congress strongly supported FVL.

As a result of rotorcraft industry efforts led by AHS and VLC, the recently-signed budget includes an additional $10M for the Army's Aviation Advanced Technology Development budget — over and above what was requested in the President's Budget — for advanced rotary-wing technology in support of Future Vertical Lift.

AHS and VLC are grateful for the strong support for FVL by several House and Senate champions of rotorcraft. Leading the charge for FVL in the House of Representatives were Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL). Strong support in the Senate came from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Other FVL congressional supporters include Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AS), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Rep. Frank Lobiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), Rep. Tom McArthur (R-NJ), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA).

“We cannot say ‘Thank You!’ enough for the incredible support we’ve received on Capitol Hill,” said Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director of AHS International. “To have so many House and Senate members make rotorcraft a priority shows how critical the FVL initiative is to our men and women in uniform.”

“We are thrilled to see that so many of our congressional leaders are willing to make FVL a priority,” said Nick Lappos, Chair of the Vertical Lift Consortium and Senior Tech Fellow at Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company.  “These House and Senate champions understand how important this program is to the American rotorcraft industry and – more importantly – to U.S. national security.”

This landmark achievement marks the second straight year of strong Congressional support for FVL. Last year, Congress added $14M to FVL in its year-end spending bill for FY15.

The Future Vertical Lift initiative is the Department of Defense’s program to revolutionize America’s rotorcraft capability. Pursuant to Congressional direction in the Fiscal Year 2009 National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon delivered its Future Vertical Lift Strategic Plan to Congress in 2012. While the Army has the lead, FVL is a joint initiative, with strong support from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Special Operations Command and Coast Guard. In April 2013, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved the FVL Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) calling for increased rotorcraft speed, range, payload, survivability, and affordability.

This additional funding will allow the Army to fund a robust research program in advance of an Analysis of Alternatives, which is called for in the ICD by FY17. Additional funding is required to meet this aggressive timeline with a comprehensive R&D program for FVL that encompasses a full-range of technical advancements — including next-generation rotors, drive trains, engines, flight controls, sensors and survivability.

These two legislative successes were the result of AHS International’s collaboration with VLC.

The American Helicopter Society (AHS) International, a 501(c)(3) charitable educational organization, is the world's premier vertical flight technical society. Since its inception in 1943, AHS has been a major force in the advancement of vertical flight, providing global leadership for scientific, technical, educational and legislative initiatives that advance the state of the art. Go to www.vtol.org for more information.

The Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit whose mission is “to work collaboratively with the U.S. Government to develop and transition innovative vertical lift technologies to rapidly and affordably meet warfighter needs.” More information is available at www.verticalliftconsortium.org.