Textron Inc announced today that Bell Textron Inc., a Textron company, has been awarded the development contract for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. The award is based on Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor that was developed and tested as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD) program that began in 2013. The V-280 progressed through design, manufacturing, and more than three years of rigorous flight testing that provided extensive data validating the technical and operational advantages of the aircraft for the long-range assault mission. This award builds on a decade of the V-280 Valor’s progress through design, manufacturing, and thorough testing to demonstrate that this aircraft will deliver on the FLRAA program requirements. Bell and its industry partners have systematically validated the V-280 aircraft and their modular open systems approach in collaboration with the Army.
“This is an exciting time for the U.S. Army, Bell, and Team Valor as we modernize the Army’s aviation capabilities for decades to come. Bell has a long history supporting Army Aviation and we are ready to equip Soldiers with the speed and range they need to compete and win using the most mature, reliable, and affordable high-performance long-range assault weapon system in the world,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell.
“We are honored that the U.S. Army has selected the Bell V-280 Valor as its next-generation assault aircraft. We intend to honor that trust by building a truly remarkable and transformational weapon system to meet the Army’s mission requirements. We are excited to play an important role in the future of Army Aviation,” said Scott C. Donnelly, Textron’s chairman and chief executive officer.
“For the past several years the Bell team demonstrated the exceptional operational capabilities, digital thread synergies, and platform affordability enhancements the V-280 provides,” said Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “Bell stands ready with our world-class manufacturing facilities to apply our nearly seven decades of tiltrotor expertise to deliver a modern FLRAA fleet to the Army.”
The initial contract refines the weapon system design, sustainment, digital enterprise, manufacturing, systems integration, flight-testing, and airworthiness qualification. This award builds on Bell’s history of more than 85 years delivering over 30,000 trusted vertical lift products to military and commercial customers in the U.S. and around the world.
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 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. he V-280 is designed for a cruising speed of 280 knots (320 mph; 520 km/h), hence the name V-280, a top speed of 300 knots (345 mph; 556 km/h), a range of 2,100 nautical miles (2,400 mi; 3,900 km), and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nmi (580 to 920 mi; 930 to 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 V-280 will have retractable landing gear, a triple-redundant fly by wire control system, and a V-tail configuration.