Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has been selected as a project agreement holder for the competitive demonstration and risk reduction (CD&RR) effort as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. Under the agreement Bell will deliver a refined V-280 Valor design, with supporting technical documentation, that builds on the data captured during the more than two years and 170 hours of flight testing under the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) program to inform the FLRAA program of record.
“Bell and Team Valor are excited to continue working on a system that has proven its ability to bring exceptional capabilities to warfighters,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO at Bell. “The JMR TD and V-280 show that rapid maturation of new technology is possible with a solid government-industry partnership fueled by our talented and innovative workforce. We look forward to the FLRAA competition.”
This contract follows the successful U.S. Army led JMR TD program. As part of that program, Bell managed collaboration with the twelve leading companies that make up Team Valor to enable rapid production, systems integration, and deliberate program schedule to validate the V-280’s flight capabilities and operational relevance. The V-280 achieved all program goals, demonstrating its speed by flying above 300 knots and demonstrating low speed agility attitude quickness per ADS-33F-PRF. These characteristics are important to inform FLRAA program requirements to ensure the program will help warfighters meet the challenges of future multi-domain fights.
“This is an important milestone in the history of Bell and Army aviation. We are honored to be part of it,” said Keith Flail, vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “The next phase is an opportunity for this team to build on the success of the last six years and continue to bring the proof that we can provide transformative capabilities to our Army in line with their stated goal of 2030.”
The V-280 Valor was developed in support of the government Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program, the Army’s number three modernization priority area. The FLRAA program is meant to produce a medium-lift utility rotorcraft replacement with transformational speed, power, and maneuverability, at a sustainable cost, to active duty and reserve aviation units.
The Bell V-280 Valor is a tiltrotor aircraft being developed by Bell and Lockheed Martin for the United States Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. The V-280 is reported to be designed for a cruising speed of 280 knots (hence the name V-280), a top speed of 300 knots (560 km/h), a range of 2,100 nautical miles (3,900 km), and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nmi ( 1,480 km). Expected maximum takeoff weight is around 30,000 pounds (14,000 kg). In one major difference from the earlier V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the engines remain in place while the rotors and drive shafts tilt. 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.