The Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) programme, launched in 2020, is making headway after the release of its first Request for Proposal (RfP), announced 14 July by the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).
A large percentage of helicopters currently in service within Nato follow designs that date back to the 1960s, and the development of the NGRC stems from a desire to see advances in airframe and propulsion technology, as well as digital infrastructure.
The RfP announcement today is to solicit bids from qualified contractors for work exploring current and future solutions for the novel power plant to answer NGRC requirements.
The NGRC is a multinational effort between France, Germany Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with Canada expected to join the project in October. The nations signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2022, dedicating €26.7m ($28.0m) to develop the next generation of medium multi-role helicopters, ready for an in-service date in the 2035-2040 timeframe.
The novel power plant is expected to have a shaft horsepower in excess of 3000SHP, though the exact power requirement will be dependent on the overall platform design. As the project seeks to go beyond established conventional solutions, NGRC seeks proposals based on new or emerging technologies that can include advances in gas turbine technologies, electric power, hydrogen fuels of hybrid combinations, according to the NGRC Novel Powerplant Concept Study document from the NSPA.
The Concept Stage will be carried out on behalf of the participating nations by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). In collaboration with industry and on behalf of the nations, the Agency will investigate how to match their requirements with the most advanced technology available to achieve unrivalled flight characteristics.
“Writing an RFP for a Concept Stage Study is a challenging but interesting task, especially as a Senior Technical Officer (VNC)” stated Markus Loennig, adding: “I appreciate the effectiveness of teamwork at NSPA in the NGRC Programme. The positive interaction between team members – engineers, Contracting officer, Finance officer- enabled us to publish the first RFP according to the planning agreed with Nations.”