The Defense Department’s program to develop the next generation of rotary wing aircraft will do away with categories based on weight and will instead break them down into capabilities, a senior leader in the program said Jan. 21. Jose Gonzalez, deputy director of land warfare, munitions and tactical warfare systems under acquisition, technology and logistics at the office of the secretary of defense, said the future vertical lift program is moving at a deliberate pace, which he knows frustrates helicopter manufacturers. “Industry says, ‘We’re ready. We’re flying them today. Why can’t we just take delivery and go?’” he told National Defense. “But this is a flying helicopter that has to be certified — has to be more capable. We’ve got a lot of experience with helicopters. They are not easy. The V-22 was not easy. CH-53K is proving to be hard. Things that fly that have so many moving, shaking pieces are complex, so they take time,” he said.
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