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Bell introduces 360 Invictus


October 7, 2019
By Wings Staff


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The Bell 360 Invictus is designed to provide attack, reconnaissance, and intelligence to shape the tactical environment and deliver operational overmatch in highly complex multi-domain operations. (Photo: Bell)

Bell Textron Inc. on October 2 introduced a new rotorcraft, the Bell 360 Invictus, as the company’s entrant for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program. Bell states the 360 Invictus meets or exceeds all requirements as laid out under the FARA contract.

“The Bell 360 will deliver advanced battlefield situational awareness, as well as lethal options, in support of the maneuver force at an affordable cost” said Vince Tobin, executive vice president of military business at Bell. “The multi-domain fight will be complex, and our team is delivering a highly capable, low-risk solution to confidently meet operational requirements with a sustainable fleet.”

Bell points to the 360 Invictus’ rotor system as an example of how it is leveraging proven technologies to fulfill the Army’s FARA requirements at an affordable cost and on schedule. The Invictus design is based on Bell’s 525 Relentless rotor system, which has been tested and proven at speeds in excess of 200 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS). Bell states this approach delivers a low-risk path to a FARA program of record.

“Bell is committed to providing the U.S. Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, least complex, and lowest risk solution among the potential FARA configurations, while meeting all requirements,” said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “360 Invictus is an exciting opportunity for us to continue our support of Army modernization. This is the next solution to ensure soldiers have the best equipment available for the multi-domain fight.”

Bell describes some of the key 360 Invictus features as including:

• Lift-sharing wing to reduce rotor lift demand in forward flight, enabling high-speed maneuverability,
• Supplemental Power Unit increases performance during high power demands,
• Robust articulated main rotor with high flapping capability enabling high speed flight,
• Fly-by-wire flight control system – synthesizes technologies, reduces pilot workload and provides a path to autonomous flight,
• Speed greater than 185 KTAS,
• Combat radius of 135nm with greater than 90 minutes of time on station,
• Achieves 4k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE),
• Armed with a 20 mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher with ability to integrate air-launched effects, and future weapons, as well as current inventory of munitions,
• Provisioned for enhanced situational awareness and sensor technologies
• Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) enabled by a Digital Backbone from Collins Aerospace,
• Robust design integrating lifecycle supportability processes early to ensure high OPTEMPO availability in multi-domain operations ,and
• Design-as-built manufacturing model and digital thread enabled tools to enhance affordability, reliability, and training throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft