Tucked away in Bell Helicopter’s chalet is a mock-up of its V-280 next-generation tiltrotor, which the manufacturer is pinning its hopes on as the future of vertical lift.
Initially destined for the US Army’s future vertical lift – technology demonstrator effort, Bell hopes that ultimately the Valor will be selected for all the US services.
However, it has brought the mock-up to Farnborough – its international debut – to grab the attention of potential export customers.
“We are not looking for this to be only a US product, and we would welcome the opportunity for this to be developed with US and international partners,” says Vince Tobin, vice-president of advanced tiltrotor systems.
Bell would welcome other nations to the programme, says Tobin, but admits: “ultimately that is a US government decision”.
It also rests on the US Department of Defense selecting the V-280 for the Joint Multi-Role requirement, although Tobin says he is “completely confident” that Washington will “procure this aircraft”.
“Tiltrotor technology is the future – it will be for the US government and it will be for international customers as well.”
Maiden sortie of the Valor is scheduled for September 2017, with the flight-test article under construction in Amarillo, Texas. Fuselage-wing join took place earlier this year, with Bell last week having attached the first piece of the V-tail.
Source: Flight Daily News