On Thursday, Boeing (NYSE:BA) announced that it is teaming up with United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) subsidiary Sikorsky to field a variant of Sikorsky's X2 rotorcraft helicopter (which features counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller), for the Army's new Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) Phase 1 program.
JMR TD is the Army's acronym for its next generation series of medium transport and attack helicopters, now being designed. In a statement, Sikorsky boasted that its offering will offer the Army "a 100-knot improvement in speed, a 60 percent improvement in combat radius, and 50 percent better high-hot hover performance" over current helicopters.
Bids on Phase 1 of JMR TD are due in at the Army March 6. So far, potential competitors to the Boeing/Sikorsky team are expected to include Textron (NYSE:TXT), which may offer a variant of its V-22 Osprey; EADS, with the U-72A Lakota; and AgustaWestland (although that firm may be a bit distracted by the bribery scandal in India). Winning bids will be announced late this year, with the winners expected to deliver one or more demonstrator aircraft by 2017.