Bell V-280 chosen as US Army long range assault aircraft
December 6, 2022 By Wings Staff
Bell Textron 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 aircraft that was initially developed and tested as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD) program that began in 2013 and included more than three years of flight testing. Bell explains this rigorous testing program turn provided extensive data validating the technical and operational advantages of the V-280 for the long-range assault mission.
“We are honoured that the U.S. Army has selected the Bell V-280 Valor as its next-generation assault aircraft,” said Scott Donnelly, Chairman and CEO of Textron. “We intend to honour that trust by building a truly remarkable and transformational weapon system to meet the Army’s mission requirements.”
Bell notes the V-280 previously achieved all JMR TD program goals, demonstrating its speed by flying above 300 knots and also demonstrating low speed agility attitude quickness, and continued this progress for FLRAA program requirements. FLRAA aimed to acquire a medium-lift utility rotorcraft replacement, currently filled by the venerable Black Hawk helicopter, with what the program’s organizers described as transformational speed, power, and maneuverability, at a sustainable cost, to active duty and reserve aviation units.
“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, Bell Textron. “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.”
Bell notes the initial FLRAA contract refines the weapon system design, sustainment, digital enterprise, manufacturing, systems integration, flight-testing, and airworthiness qualification.
Over history of more than 85 years, Bell has delivering more than 30,000 vertical lift products to military and commercial customers around the world. “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.