Congress Supports FVL Funding

US Capitol BuildingAs a part of the joint FY17 advocacy campaign conducted by AHS International and the Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) on Capitol Hill, industry representatives met with representatives of more than 65 offices in the US Congress to educate them about the importance in investing public funding in vertical flight science and technology (S&T) through research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E).

As reported in April, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Subcommittee on Tactical Air & Land Forces voiced its strong support for accelerating Future Vertical Lift (FVL), and the House Appropriations Committee's Defense Subcommittee (HAC-D) proposed an addition of $11M to the Army’s funding line in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Information on how AHS has supported the initiation and furtherance of FVL is available at

With this year’s budget likely to be held up for months due to the elections, it may be some time before the final decision is made. Nonetheless, at the behest of AHS and VLC, a total of 26 Members of Congress in the House of Representatives co-signed letters on Oct. 13-14, to the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) in support of the $11M addition.

AHS and VLC wish to express their sincere thanks the following Members of Congress for their support of FVL:  Jones (R-NC) – Lead R, Brady (D-PA) – Lead D, Barletta (R-PA), Boyle (D-PA), Brooks (R-AL), Costello (R-PA), Courtney (D-CT), DeLauro (D-CT), Doyle (D-PA), Esty (D-CT), Fahrenthold (R-TX), Himes (D-CT), Hudson (R-NC), Hunter (R-CA), Lobiondo (R-NJ), Marino (R-PA), Meehan (R-PA), Murphy (R-PA), Norcross (D-NJ), Olson (R-TX), Perry (R-PA), Pitts (R-PA), Pompeo (R-KS), Thompson (R-PA), Walker (R-NC) and Walters (R-CA).

The text of the letter is below.  

The Honorable Harold Rogers, Chairman

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey, Ranking Member

House Appropriations Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

H-305, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey:

As you prepare for the conference negotiations with your Senate counterparts over the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill, we write to you to respectfully urge you to support the House position on a critical defense R&D priority.

We are asking you to strongly support the House position and add $11M to Army RDT&E Line 31, Aviation Advanced Technology (PE 0603003A) for Future Vertical Lift

Like both of you, we are strong supporters of Army Aviation and of America’s rotorcraft industry.  The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that vertical lift aircraft have been some of the most effective workhorses in the U.S. fighting arsenal. At the same time, insufficient investment in vertical lift technology over a sustained period threatens the long-term performance, maintainability, survivability and affordability of the entire U.S. rotorcraft fleet. In the decade following 9-11, for example, the U.S. military lost more than 600 Americans and 400 vertical lift aircraft to hostile action and mishaps.  With the exception of the V-22 Osprey, all U.S. rotorcraft deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan were designed during or before Vietnam.

Pursuant to Congressional direction in the FY09 National Defense Authorization Act, DOD delivered its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Strategic Plan to Congress in 2012. FVL is a joint initiative, with support from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Special Operations Command and Coast Guard. The FVL Initial Capabilities Document calls for increased speed, range, payload, survivability, and affordability.

Additional Army Aviation research and development (R&D) funding is needed to deliver these revolutionary capabilities to our warfighters, and regain America’s world leadership in rotorcraft innovation. The next generation FVL aircraft will be the centerpiece of the US military vertical lift aircraft for the next 50 years. FY17 is a critical year for the technology development, as wind tunnel testing and other key milestones must be met that will help inform the FVL Analysis of Alternatives. Additional funding is required to meet this aggressive timeline with a comprehensive R&D program that encompasses a full-range of technical advancements – including next-generation rotors, drive trains, engines, flight controls, sensors and survivability.

Thanks to your leadership, Congress showed its support for robust FVL funding by adding $14M for Future Vertical Lift in FY15 and $10M in FY16.

We were pleased the House supported an additional $11M in funding for Future Vertical Lift in its version of the FY17 defense appropriations bill.  As you may know, the Senate did not add any new funds for FVL in its version.

We respectfully ask you to strongly support the House position, and include the full $11M in additional funding for Army RDT&E Line 31, Aviation Advanced Technology (PE 0603003A) for Future Vertical Lift in the final Conference Report for the FY17 defense appropriations bill.

Posted Oct. 25, 2016