On Friday, defense contractors Boeing (NYSE: BA ) and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) announced they are teaming up to bid on phase 1 of the U.S. Army's Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) program.
JMR TD is part of the Pentagon's planned Future Vertical Lift program, which aims to produce a next-generation aircraft that will be faster than current helicopter and tilt-rotor offerings, and also capable of carrying bigger payloads to the battlefield. The Pentagon is hedging on the meaning of aircraft at this point, as the generals remain uncertain whether they want a new helicopter, or a sort of hybrid helo-plane like the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.
They do want something somewhat better than what they have now, and Boeing and UTC's Sikorsky unit will try to build it for them. If the companies win a contract, they would be asked to build and test-fly a prototype aircraft by 2017.