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The $70 Billion Dollar Helicopter.

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Major General Robert Barrie, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Aviation, said the initial dollar figure will allow Bell to continue onward with the preliminary design of the aircraft and deliver “virtual prototypes of a potentially model-based system.”

“There are zero aircraft being procured in the initial portion,” the two-star general said. If the aircraft moves into production, though, the program could soar up to $70 billion over its lifetime.

If I'm understanding the article correctly, the Army competed two designs and, prior to finishing the Preliminary Design Review, chose the winning design based on ... actually I'm not sure what the evaluation criteria were. The article talks about prototypes but the initial award seems to clearly indicate that the design didn't even get past PDR and all prototypes were or will be "virtual" so now I'm confused. No one is actually buying anything that flies at this point in time, it appears.

Then the article quotes a politician who mentions something about fuel range but how do you measure the range of a "virtual prototype of a potentially model-based system"?

I dunno. The Army picked a winner. Somehow. Good for them. I hope the next-gen copter is awesome.

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