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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rotorcraft Report: JHL Dead? Reports May Be Premature

MILITARY | HEAVY LIFT

Widespread reports that the Joint Heavy Lift program led by the U.S. Army is dead may be premature.

Senior Army leaders have, for months, referred to "the program formerly known as JHL," saying it has been succeeded by the Joint Future Theater Lift program. The latter is the latest effort to forge an Army-U.S. Air Force partnership on a new heavy-lift vertical- or short-takeoff and landing transport. But the Air Force is still defining its requirements, which means the newest joint effort likely will miss a July 1 target set by the Pentagon for merging the "blue" and "green" requirements into a set of "purple" or joint requirements. In the meantime, the JHL program, backed by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and special operations community, is preparing to let contracts within the month to refine proposals for a large, vertical-lift aircraft to three teams: Bell Helicopter and Boeing; Sikorsky Aircraft; and Karem Aircraft and Lockheed Martin.

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