Rolls-Royce has agreed to develop turboshaft engine options for Bell’s V-280 Valor and V-247 Vigilant tiltrotors.
The V-280 Valor is powered by GE Aviation's T64-GE-419 engine, though future variants of the aircraft will feature the option to install a Rolls-Royce power plant, says Bell.
“Bell and Rolls-Royce are developing an end-to-end engine integrated solution for V-280 as an option for future procurements,” says Bell. “However, we fully recognize that the government has not defined its engine sourcing strategy.”
Bell says it plans to continue to work with GE Aviation on the V-280.
Ahead of the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme, the V-280 has been flying for over a year as a Capability 3 technology demonstrator, a medium-size utility aircraft intended to replace the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. In January, the tiltrotor hit its goal top speed for which it is named: 280kt (518km/h).
The Bell V-247 is an unmanned tiltrotor that has not yet flown, however, only making public appearances in the form of 3-D renderings or trade show mockups. The unmanned air vehicle is a concept for the US Marine Corp’s Marine Unmanned Expeditionary (MUX) aircraft.
Bell declined to say which Rolls-Royce turbines might be installed on its aircraft, but noted that it is working on ways to optimise engines for its aircraft.
“The Bell [and] Rolls-Royce team are working on integrated inlet particle protection and exhaust infrared suppression system solutions to reduce environmental impacts to propulsion system durability, while maximizing installed propulsion system performance and survivability,” the company says.