Bell switches engine supplier for next tiltrotor, chooses GE

Washington DC
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

GE Aviation will manufacture the engines for Bell Helicopter’s third-generation tilt-rotor aircraft, the V-280 Valor, according to a media release from Bell.

Bell, a division of Textron, does not say which specific GE engine will power the V-280, and GE did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

But the release says government funding from the US Army’s future affordable turbine engine (FATE) programme will allow Bell to provide a “robust, durable engine.”

GE has told Flightglobal that technologies developed through FATE, such as advanced cooling systems, could be inserted directly into its 7,500shp-class (5,520kW) GE38 engine.

That engine will power Sikorsky’s CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, which is under development for the US Marine Corps.

The Rolls-Royce AE1107C Liberty engine powers the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and competes in the same thrust-range as the GE38.

GE tells Flightglobal it has completed 3,100h of engine tests on the GE38 and expects the engine to receive full military certification sometime next year.

The CH-53K is expected to fly at the end of 2014.

Bell’s medium-lift V-280 Valor is seen as a replacement to the Army’s fleet of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks.

The V-280 will have a deployable range of up to 2,100nm (3,890km) and will be twice as fast as UH-60s, says Bell.

UH-60s have a maximum cruise speed of 151kt (280km/h), according to Sikorsky.