The Bell V-280 Valor is a tiltrotor aircraft being developed by Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin for the United States Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. The Bell V-280 Valor provides warfighters strategic options, operational reach, tactical agility and overmatch at the point of decision. The Bell V-280 Valor design supports ground maneuver and is purpose built for the squad plus enablers. Safe and survivable, the design features integrated cabin armor, fly-by-wire component redundancy, state of the art countermeasures and performance. Bell’s design to build technology used on the V-280 Valor significantly enhances manufacturing, assembly, and sustainability, while greatly reducing the total cost of ownership. The aircraft was officially unveiled at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America’s (AAAA) Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas. The V-280 made its first flight on 18 December 2017 in Amarillo, Texas.
Advanced tiltrotor speed and range provides commanders access not currently available. With more than twice the speed and range of current helicopter platforms, the Bell V-280 Valor provides access to get to the objective while providing superior agility at the objective. Team Valor’s mission equipment package enables enroute situational understanding through digitally fused reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence and friendly force information. Airborne battle boards bring fused data and mission updates to the cabin for real-time tracking. The V-280 will provide technology overmatch at an affordable price point. Special emphasis has been placed on reducing the weight of the V-280 in comparison to the V-22, which in turn would reduce cost. With these measures, costs are reduced by over 30 percent compared to a scaled V-22 wing. Bell expects the V-280 to cost around the same as a AH-64E or MH-60M.
The Bell V-280’s unmatched speed, range and payload, and operational agility offers transformational reach and revolutionary capability. Advanced tiltrotor speed and range provides commanders with access. With more than twice the speed and twice the range of current helicopter platforms, the Bell V-280 provides access to the objective while providing superior low-speed agility at the objective. The Bell V-280’s speed, range and payload radically improves our Soldier’s battlefield productivity and Combatant Commander’s operational reach with agile, expeditionary Army Forces. The Bell V-280 Valor is going to allow the military to rewrite the book on what is possible in forward operations and battle planning. Whether different variants of the V-280 would fill utility and attack roles or a single airframe could interchange payloads for either mission, Bell is confident the Valor tiltrotor platform can fulfill both duties; the U.S. Marine Corps is interested in having one aircraft to replace utility and attack helicopters, but the Army, which leads the program, is not committed to the idea and wants distinct platforms for each mission. Bell and Lockheed claim an AV-280 variant can launch rockets, missiles, and even small unmanned aerial vehicles forward or aft with no rotor interference, even in forward flight and cruise modes with the rotors forward.
For the Bell V-280, the focus is on technology, enabling reduced complexity, weight and cost, bringing a revolutionary and more affordable capability to the VTOL community – literally more than twice as fast and twice as far as today’s legacy aircraft.
- Best value in manufacturing and total lifecycle costs
- Advanced manufacturing innovations significantly reduce cost, complexity, and time to produce.
- Enhanced maintainability and commonality reduces total life cycle and support costs while simplifying maintenance procedures and increasing reliability.