The United States government and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement last Monday, February 14, that enables the two countries to evaluate the possibility of cooperation on future vertical lift programs, enhancing their respective aviation research and development efforts.

In an attempt to advance the military’s modernization projects, both the US and the UK agreed to a “Future Vertical Lift Cooperative Program Feasibility Assessment project arrangement,” with the two countries promising to work together to ensure the advance and interoperability between the future rotorcraft aviation vehicles and equipment.

“Arrangements like these will ultimately improve our capabilities and strengthen our forces, focusing on joint lethality, survivability and reach while ensuring affordability for both our countries,” said US Army Future Command’s Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team Director Maj. Gen. Walter “Wally” Rugen

The future vertical lift program cooperation agreement, which was signed by Rugen and Director of Futures Major-General James Bowder, has pledged on behalf of their respective countries to exchange and share information about the development of rotorcrafts so that these future aviation vehicles can be operated and maintained in a similar fashion, saving both militaries millions of monetary resources needed to develop an aircraft.

“This arrangement is in addition to an already existing partnership the UK has with the US Army and Navy that aims to reduce the divergence between the two countries’ open-system architectures, a key component to keeping pace with emerging technology and rapid adaptability and capability evolution,” said the statement.

It can be remembered that the US Army has been pursuing a number of future vertical lift programs, including the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program (FLRAA), a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), and Air-Launched Effects (ALE).

By 2030, the FLRAA is scheduled to field a new long-range assault aircraft to replace the legendary UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter. Contracts were awarded to Bell and the Sikorsky-Boeing teams to pursue the program’s development. The US Army would then choose a winner between the two companies’ designs for them to build prototypes—this was done to have a more competitive atmosphere in refining design requirements and conceptualizations needed for the FLRAA program.