The Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program is grappling with how to fuse requirements from different stakeholders involved with the effort with the demand for a common platform, according to a key decision maker.

Richard Kretzschmar, project manager for Improved Turbine Engine (ITEP) and FVL, said Tuesday that Pentagon acquisition czar Frank Kendall in October approved the program moving into the materiel solution and analysis phase. The big part of this phase, he said, is working with the Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), under an Army lead, to validate requirements. The Army has lead acquisition authority for FVL.

Artist's rendering of a potential Boeing-Sikorsky future vertical lift platform. Photo: Sikorsky.
Artist’s rendering of a potential Boeing-Sikorsky future vertical lift platform. Photo: Boeing.

Kretzschmar, at a Defense One event in Arlington, Va., said in the first capability set rolled out of FVL, Capability Set 3, the FVL program is looking at the Army utility mission, the Marine Corps attack and utility mission and the USSOCOM deep attack and penetration mission. The challenge, he said, is taking those requirements and convincing program decision makers that the program can meet those requirements with a “relatively common” airframe.

Though Kretzschmar said commonality has lots of different meanings, he said the program will marry commonality with what program leaders see as either current technology maturation or what it will be in 2018. Kretzschmar said the program will then move onto Milestone A, currently scheduled for 2019. At the moment, he said, the program is still working on an acquisition strategy. Though it has one in mind, Kretzschmar said the program is looking at tailoring it based on the technology maturation and how that lines up with the requirements and what our confidence and risk acceptance is moving forward.

As part of that effort to fuse requirements from different stakeholders, Kretzschmar said a small, mid-level group of three-star level men and women has been created to adjudicate any discrepancies in the requirements or resources for FVL. Kretzschmar, in a Thursday email, said this group is called the General Officer Steering Committee (GOSC). He said the idea is that GOSC would have a single member from all participating services and organizations, in this case, the Army, Marine Corps and USSOCOM.

GOSC, he said, will have the resource and requirement decision authority for the different participants in Capability Set 3 and will be brought into discussions as needed. Kretzschmar said, for example, if resources get traded away and some requirements have to be adjusted, GOSC will have the authority to make the adjudication decision. Capability Set 3 corresponds to what was originally called FVL medium, upon which the Joint Multi Role (JMR) technology demonstrators were based.

Kretzschmar said GOSC would rank below an executive steering group, but above a council of colonels headed by Army Col. Doug Hooks, systems division chief, Army headquarters. Kretzschmar said GOSC has not met and that the FVL program is in the process of putting together a memorandum of agreement and charter to present to this group in the near future.

A Lockheed Martin Sikorsky [LMT]-Boeing [BA] team and Bell Helicopter Textron [TXT] are participating in JMR, which will feed into FVL.