US Military is in process of initiating a futuristic new helicopter program which will go on to replace OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, UH-60 Black Hawks, and AH-64 Apaches medium-lift category armed and reconnaissance helicopters from its current fleet. Under a Program called Future Vertical Lift aircraft, US Military plans to develop a family of helicopters which will go on to serve their forces from 2030 onwards and Washington is keen to have New Delhi onboard its futuristic helicopter Program.

According to reliable industry sources close to the first offer came from Obama administration about India being part of the futuristic helicopter Program and even now the current dispensation and Pentagon is still very much wants India to be part of this program considering India in future will have a massive requirement to replace its aging medium-lift category helicopters of its forces.

Future Vertical Lift aircraft presently is going through Technology Demonstration phase and is still at an initial phase. The program is likely to benefit India and its Public-Private sector companies if New Delhi decides to joins and in return, Washington is keen to have a reliable partner in the program and also a part of its supply chain which will be mutually beneficiary to both the countries.

Amercian companies like Bell, Sikorsky, and Boeing have already submitted their conceptual designs and are presently working on Technology Demonstrators helicopters before a winner is selected. Companies participating have been told to have a scalable platform under which same base model can be used for different roles under a different configuration using the common technologies.

Interestingly Indian Army and HAL in a joint session held over a year ago had asked HAL about the development of futuristic helicopters including stealthy multi-role medium-lift category helicopters which can be used to drop troops behind the enemy line and can be also used as part of logistics supply chain for transportation.

India is yet to officially comment on the current offer made by Washington but as per Industrial estimate reports, India will be needing 600-800 new helicopters of different sizes and categories in next decade to replace older fleet.

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