Bell has completed 30% of the 360 Invictus winged helicopter for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) programme.
Construction of the helicopter started in October. The rotorcraft is being built in Amarillo, Texas.
“You see a lot of the structure and skins coming together on the aircraft. We’re about to begin systemisation for a lot of systems in the aircraft,” Keith Flail, executive vice-president of advanced vertical lift systems, said on 24 March. “The army has scheduled an Army Requirements Oversight Council in April where they will relook the requirements for the weapon system and validate those.”
The 360 Invictus is still on schedule.
“We’re still on the path to have the aircraft complete to execute ground runs in the summer of 2022, with first flight shortly after that,” says Flail.
FARA is the US Army’s next-generation scouting and light attack rotorcraft. The high-speed helicopter is intended to replace the Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, which was retired in 2017.
The project is the service’s top aviation priority. The US Army wants FARA to be designed, built, tested, flown and fielded to its first unit by 2028.
Sikorsky is also competing to develop FARA and is building Raider X, a co-axial helicopter with a pusher propeller.