The final configuration of the Bell Boeing 609 civil tilt-rotor has been frozen following the selection of the last major system suppliers, some of them existing providers for the V-22 Osprey.

Collins has been named as avionics supplier, and the company's General Aviation division will supply and integrate its Pro Line 21 system. The configuration selected for the 609 includes three large (250 x 200mm) active-matrix colour liquid-crystal flat-panel displays. Two will function as primary flight displays, and the third as a multi-function display. Other Pro Line avionics include a communications, navigation and "pulse" package with a Mode S transponder. The 609 will also have an engine indication and crew alerting system (EICAS), and a maintenance-diagnostic computer.

Dowty Aerospace, which provides similar systems for the V-22, has been selected to design, develop and manufacture 15 primary flight-control actuators as well as an associated test-rig package. Sister company Messier-Dowty has also been chosen to provide the integrated landing-gear system in a contract potentially worth up to $100 million over the expected life of the programme.

Lear Astronics has been selected to develop and provide flight-control computers for the fly-by-wire flight-control system (FCS). The system will be based on a triplex/dual primary with a triplex-dissimilar secondary flight-control computer architecture.

The FCS will provide control in pitch, roll and yaw using conventional pilot commands as well as control of rotor thrust, speed and tilt. Astronics will also supply two integrated sensor units consisting of an air-data system, an attitude and heading-reference system and a magnetic-reference sensor.

Other major suppliers include Japanese advanced-materials specialist Toray, which will provide composite structural subassemblies. Pratt & Whitney Canada was named in November 1996 as the supplier of the engines, and will provide PT6C-67As.

Meanwhile, the first order has been placed for the Bell Boeing 609 civil tilt-rotor, says the team, which opened the orderbook on 2 February at the 1997 Heli Expo. The aircraft is provisionally priced at between $8 million and $10 million in constant 1996 dollars, although the company says that this will be "narrowed down".

The first flight is targeted for mid-1999, with certification to a newly defined US Federal Aviation Administration category, expected in the first quarter of 2001. Deliveries are scheduled to start shortly after.

Source: Flight International