FVL Becomes an Acquisition Program

DoD FY17 Budget Submitted; FVL Funded

Vertiflite, March/April 2016

In the Fiscal Year 2017 President’s Budget Submission, the US Department of Defense (DoD) reduced Army Aviation modernization by nearly 40%, cutting the FY16 budget from $5.9B to $3.9B. These budget cuts primarily reduced the number of CH-47F Chinooks funded from 39 in FY16 to 22 in FY17, and UH-60M Black Hawks from 107 to only 36 (both programs are in the last year of their five-year contracts, which cannot feasibly be broken). The number of AH-64D Apache Longbow to be remanufactured into AH-64E Guardians is similarly reduced from 64 to 52. Army Aviation was disproportionately hit, but the Marines also saw the V-22 Osprey program cut from 18 planned aircraft to 16. The overall Pentagon funding level had been previously set (by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015); this year’s overall DoD request for $582.7B is essentially the same as the budget enacted for FY16.

In contrast to the cuts in procurement, research and development was increased by more than 4%, from $69B to $71.8B.

A notable addition to the budget was $10M requested for “Future Vertical Lift Medium” Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (Budget Activity 4, also known as 6.4 funding) in FY17, with plans for a ramp-up in subsequent years:

  • Generic FVL ConceptFY17 ($10.014M) funding provides for Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis and provides for Systems Engineering and Program Management (SEPM)
  • FY18 ($9.008M) continues to fund AoA efforts, Request for Proposal (RFP) development and SEPM
  • FY19 ($7.840M) supports Milestone A, RFP development, RFP release, and SEPM
  • FY20 ($21.998M) funds Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB), and continues to provide funding for SEPM
  • FY21 ($55.423M) provides for Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction contract awards and funding for SEPM

Of the FY17 request, $8.7M was for “AoA and Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis, Systems Engineering and Program Management, travel, contractor support, and Program Management administrative cost.” The remaining $1.314M was for “Engineering Services / Research Studies and Program Management.” An AoA is an analytical comparison of the operational effectiveness, suitability and life-cycle cost of alternatives that satisfy an established capability need. For FVL, the AOA is planned to begin at the end of calendar year 2016 and continue into FY18; it follows the October 2016 Materiel Development Decision.

These FVL requests are over and above the funding for the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstration, discussed in the last issue of Vertiflite. The JMR demonstrations fall under Budget Activity 3 (6.4 research), Advanced Technology Development (ATD). The Army requested $89M for JMR in both FY15 and FY16, augmented by a total of $24M in Congressional plus-ups advocated by AHS and the Vertical Lift Consortium. The JMR request for FY17 is $94M.

For more information about Future Vertical Lift — including the budget documents referenced here — check out our FVL resource page: www.vtol.org/FVL.

Update: On Feb. 22, the DoD posted Requests for Information (RFIs) for two of the FVL Capability Sets (dated Feb. 18, 2016):

  • Capability Set #3 corresponds to what was originally called "FVL-Medium," upon which the JMR technology demonstrators were based. 
  • Capability Set #1 is closer to what was originally "FVL-Light" and similar to the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) profile. 

More about the Capability Sets is found in "The Road to Future Vertical Lift (FVL)" on the FVL resource page (www.vtol.org/FVL). 

Updated: Feb. 24, 2016