U.S. Army Scrapping Helicopter Program After Spending Billions

But it shouldn't be viewed "as a failure."

You know, sometimes these things just don't work out. The Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program was meant to create the U.S. Army's new weaponized scout helicopter. The Army had even held a design competition to find the replacement for the Vietnam-era OH-58 chopper once it was retired. In the interim, Apache attack helicopters and Shadow drones were filling in.

According to Defense News, the Army has spent at least $2 billion on the FARA program and earmarked some $5 billion for development over the next five years. 

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The Raider X prototype from Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky was a FARA frontrunner, and Bell Textron was also a player with the Bell 360 Invictus. Despite engine delays from General Electric Aerospace, test flights were planned for later this year.

Well, last week, Army officials said they are ending FARA as part of a major overhaul that will also see the end of the Shadow and Raven fleets. 

The focus will be shifted to Black Hawks, the newest Chinook cargo helicopter, the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft and drone R&D. 

Gen. James Rainey says the shift shouldn't be viewed "as a failure," because other modernization efforts remain ahead of or on schedule.

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