In November 2001 the Army recast the Future Transport Rotorcraft (FTR) program as the Air Maneuver Transport (AMT), also known as the Advanced Maneuver Transport. The formal requirement for the Air Maneuver Transport platform, capable of carrying the Future Combat System, was still under development as of October 2002. The AMT, with its ability to insert combat vehicles vertically, it intended to give the commander unparalleled speed and agility on the battlefield. Generally independent of ground conditions, it will enable the conduct of vertical envelopment and vertical maneuver. This capability avoids predictable, linear patterns of operations.
By mid-2002 the Army's renewed commitment to developing an intra-theater transport aircraft had was reflected in new interest in the Advanced Theater Transport (ATT). The as-yet undefined aircraft was called the Air Maneuver Transport instead of the Future Transport Rotorcraft because the Army did not want to commit to a particular type of aircraft. However, there was no funding in the FY '04-'09 Program Objective Memorandum long-term spending plan for the development of an eventual Air Maneuver Transport (AMT). Bell Helicopter Textron has proposed a concept called a quad tilrotor while Boeing has an AMT concept that is based on an enlarged CH-47 Chinook, though it could not lift an FCS platform.
The Army has determined that the AMT system must be able to carry a combat-configured FCS, which will weigh approximately 20 tons, a distance of 500 kilometers. Army aviation standards mandate a "high/hot" capability that includes hover out of ground effect at takeoff gross weight, using 95 percent takeoff power, under environmental conditions of 4,000 feet above sea level and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The Marine Corps, which is developing the V-22, uses a different high/hot requirement of 3,000 feet above sea level at 91.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The V-22 performance is significantly less than the desired [Objective Force] capabilities of 20 tons at 500 km radius under high/hot conditions. Quick-look assessments of the tiltrotor system show that, under Army high/hot standards, the V-22 can carry a payload of 2.7 tons the full 500 km. Using the Marine Corps parameters, the payload can be increased to 3.6 tons for the same 500 km distance. The Army may reduce the FCS transport range to 400 km, as tradeoffs between requirements and technology are harmonized. But, even then, tiltrotor technology would have to demonstrate significant capability breakthroughs over the present V-22 to be acceptable.
The CH-47F Chinook and the CH-53 are clearly inadequate" for vertical maneuver of the FCS-equipped Objective Force.
The Army has considered other vertical takeoff and landing concepts for carrying FCS, including the modified CH-47F+/CH-47X, the CH-53X and the Mil Design Bureau/Moscow MI-26+ heavy lift helicopter. With significant increases in payload and range, the CH-47X and CH-53X may provide the capabilities needed to complement or conduct the future force aerial sustainment mission. However, the two rotorcraft remain incapable of meeting emerging FCS mobility requirements, since payload and cargo areas are insufficient. The MI-26+ "has the potential to meet" combat-configured FCS mobility requirements.
In accordance with the Defense Planning Guidance, in October 2002 the Army submitted its Transformation Roadmap, which outlined the Army's Transformation strategy and detailed how Army Transformation supports sustained progress toward the attainment of the operational goals for Transformation stated in the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review. As directed by the Secretary of Defense's Transformation Planning Guidance, the Army presente its first annual update to the Army Transformation Roadmap in 2003. This document defined a Heavy Lift Vertical Takeoff and Landing (HLVTOL) as an aircraft with the ability to deliver one FCS within a radius of 1,000 miles [1,600 km]. This represented a considerable increase in the range requirement relative to the nominal AMT system must be able to carry a combat-configured FCS, which will weigh approximately 20 tons, a distance of 500 kilometers. The nominal FTR requirement was 20 tons and a 500-kilometer radius, or a 1,000 km mission radius with a rolling initial take-off and VTOL capability at mission mid-point.
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