Washington, D.C. – Special Operations Command is looking ahead to build its next generation of vertical lift aircraft.

Army Col. David Phillips, director of Rotary Wing at SOCOM, told a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum on the future vertical lift the command and military services hope to have the aircraft ready in about 25 years.

The panel also included representatives from the Army and Marine Corps acquisition communities.

SOCOM only recently completed manufacturing its fleet of MH-60M – the special operations variant of the Black Hawk helicopters – last year, Col Phillips said. The command will also extend the life of its MH-47 Chinook helicopters to maintain its capabilities.

“We’re absolutely tied to the Army on this,” he said. “In the interim, we’re going to sustain our little bird fleet to keep them relevant.”

The Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Department of Defense to spend up to $50 million this year on vertical takeoff and landing tiltrotor aircraft. The $619 billion measure passed the Senate Dec. 8 and now awaits President Barack Obama’s signature.

The NDAA also authorized $25 million in upgrades to repair a damaged Blackhawk helicopter belonging to SOCOM.

SOCOM Aligns with Services, Looks to Future Capabilities