U.S. helicopters maker Bell released more details about its revolutionary tiltrotor, called the V-280 Valor. The aircraft has flown more than 150 hours through multi-sortie test days and numerous public demonstrations to deliver data and inform requirements for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program.
“The V-280 and flight test program teams’ performances have gone above and beyond expectation,” said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “Our team of defense-aerospace technology and manufacturing experts demonstrated the ability to deliver a high-performance aircraft on schedule that will revolutionize U.S. military vertical lift capability. We are very proud of this track record and look forward to competing for the U.S. Army FLRAA program.”
In 2019 alone, Team Valor and the V-280 program team have delivered performance milestones beyond expectations. 2019 milestones include:
- Speed > 300 kts;
- Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) > 6,000 feet altitude at 95º F;
- Low speed agility to meet the Army’s Level 1 Handling Qualities requirements;
- Executed numerous, consecutive multi-sortie days of flight operations;
- Test flights with Army pilots.
Flight testing did not simply focus on demonstrating engineering maneuvers. The team understands the V-280 must be suitable for use in multi-domain operations as well. To that end, the V-280 has integrated the Lockheed Martin Pilotage Distributed Aperture System (PDAS) mission equipment package and has flown operationally focused tests showing fast rope deployment options. Looking forward, testing will include additional mission equipment package integration, sling load tests and a demonstration of autonomous flight.
Unprecedented flight performance is only part of the equation for FLRAA to be a successful program. Bell continues to analyze and test options to improve future fleet affordability and sustainment lifecycle cost. The team has undertaken initiatives to address cost-drivers inherent in operational aircraft by employing the latest digital technologies to optimize affordability throughout the fleet’s lifecycle.
In addition to performance achievements, the V-280 has also continued to be recognized for excellence from independent organizations. For example, the National Aeronautic Association nominated the V-280 for the prestigious Collier Trophy and Aviation Week has recognized the V-280 with a Laureate Award for the 2nd consecutive year.
These results continue to show national leaders that the JMR TD program has been a great example of government-industry partnership. The success of the JMR TD effort offers the Army an opportunity to leverage technologies proven over the past six years to inform a program of record and get new capabilities fielded in line with the Army’s modernization strategy. The V-280 demonstrates that close collaboration between government and industry can deliver transformational capabilities in a rapid and sustainable process.
“Bell is committed to our customers. Our talented employees are innovators who have reimagined how vertical lift can help modernize the Army with the V-280 Valor. We are proud of what the V-280 and Team Valor have achieved in 6 short years and look forward to building on our success to bring next generation capability to the warfighter in the coming years,” continued Flail.