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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Program Formerly Known as Joint Heavy Lift

Say farewell to Joint Heavy Lift, the U.S. Army's aspiration to a multi-service, next-generation heavy-lifter. The program, spearheaded by the Army Aviation Technology Directorate, seems to have been overcome by requirements creep and inter-service rivalry. It was aimed at satisfying intra-theater lift requirements of the Army's Future Combat Systems. But that program's target payload ballooned, most recently from 20 to 30 tons. That, in turn, dictated an aircraft on the order of a Lockheed Martin C-130, which tread dangerously close U.S. Air Force turf. Today, briefing at the annual gathering of the Army Aviation Assn of America outside Washington, a top Army requirements official referred to "the program formerly known as Joint Heavy Lift." The new name, said Col. Rick Stockhausen, director of concepts and requirements at the Aviation Warfighting Center, is Joint Future Theater Lift. It is a concept, he added, and is looking at lifting a 28-ton payload. For related news
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