Five European countried sign an agreement on the development of NATO’s next generation helicopter.
Image Credit: NATO
On Thursday, five NATO countries signed an agreement on building the next generation helicopter jointly, which would enter service in 2040, to replace the current helicopters in NATO’s fleet, which is expected to start in 2035. The letter of intent that was signed on Thursday is non-binding.
The countries that signed the agreement were France, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece and Italy. The program for this new generation helicopter is being known as ‘Next-Generation Rotorcraft Capability’ or NGRC.
The NATO Deputy- Secretary General Mircea Geoană said,
By investing our resources and channeling our development initiatives through a multinational framework, we are making sure allies are equipped with the best available capabilities, which helps to maintain NATO’s technological edge.Mircea Geoană
The five countries will come together to implement to find the best suitable design and latest technology for the helicopter to be used in NATO’s fleet by 2040. Even though there are only five countries in the agreement, other NATO countries can join, but must be accepted by the existing members.
The next generation helicopter will have to be suited for transport of both cargo and troops, special operations, search and rescue, medical reasons and submarine warfare. The helicopter will be a medium sized helicopter.
The concept phase of the medium sized helicopter will start in 2022. United States is also discussing on building a medium sized helicopter for its army. It will be doing this through a Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition. In this competition the US army will choose one proposal.