Spirit AeroSystems continues to expand its military aviation business with an agreement to design, develop and manufacture the fuselage of Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft.

Bell made the announcement in a media release issued today, the day the manufacturer unveiled a full-scale mock-up of the aircraft at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, DC.

“We are pleased Spirit has made the strategic decision to join team Valor and will provide the fuselage for the Bell V-280, our third-generation tiltrotor,” John Garrison, president and chief executive of Bell says in a media release. “Spirit joins our growing team of aerospace leaders who are aligning their interests and resources to deliver the highest levels of maturity and technical readiness to the US Army for their future vertical lift missions.”

The V-280 project will benefit from Spirit’s experience with advanced composite design and manufacturing techniques, says Larry Lawson, president and chief executive of Spirit in the media release.

“Spirit is excited to bring our high-quality, low-cost solutions to bear in support of US war fighters’ need for a future vertical lift family of systems with unparalleled range, speed and payload,” Lawson says.

A former division of Boeing, Spirit was spun off in 2005 and previously built aerostructures only for commercial aircraft.

In 2007, however, Spirit was selected to build the cabin of Sikorsky’s 42t CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter in development for the US Marine Corps.

The V-280 Valor is Spirit’s next major military programme.

Source: FlightGlobal.com