Bell Helicopter revealed the first full-scale mock-up of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft today to attendees of the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington DC.
The model allows Army procurement officers to see firsthand Bell’s answer to the Army’s request for an aircraft under the Joint Multi-Role (JMR)/Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme.
The V-280 will have a composite fuselage made by Spirit AeroSystems, a large-cell carbon-core wing, fly-by-wire controls and a V-shaped tail.
Keith Flail, Bell’s programme director for FVL military programs, tells Flightglobal that the V-280 is the product of Bell’s 55 years of experience in designing and building tiltrotor aircraft.
It also incorporates lessons the company learned from its V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, which Bell produced in partnership with Boeing.
The V-22 is used by the US Marine Corps and US Air Force, and has completed nearly 200,000 flight hours, says Flail.
He notes that unlike the V-22, the V-280s engines do not rotate. Rather, only the rotor system tilts.
Bell, which is building the V-280 with Lockheed Martin, was among four teams awarded technology investment agreement deals by the Army in early October.
Bell and competitors AVX Aircraft, Karem Aircraft and a Boeing-Sikorsky team will develop technology demonstrators from 2017.