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Future Military Helicopters: Technological Innovation and Lessons Learned from Ukraine


The Russian invasion of Ukraine highlighted the importance of helicopters in modern military operations, showing strengths and weaknesses of these assets in high-intensity scenarios. The preliminary lessons from the war come at a time in which most leading Western powers need to modernise their respective helicopters fleets, which until recently had experienced only limited technological leaps from the 1970s. Today, while the US is heavily invested in the Future Vertical Lift programme, European countries have shown a more cautious approach. Nevertheless, relevant EU and NATO collaborative projects show that there is widespread interest in the future of military helicopters. Italy, which is a leading country in the helicopter sector, finds itself at a crossroad and will need to carefully ponder its strategic options, both considering industrial and operational aspects inherent in the adoption of new rotorcraft technologies.

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