Bell Helicopter has announced that its V-280 Valor has achieved first flight.
“This is an exciting time for Bell Helicopter, and I could not be more proud of the progress we have made with first flight of the Bell V-280,” says Mitch Snyder, President & CEO for Bell Helicopter.
“First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernisation priorities and acquisition reform initiatives. The Valor is designed to revolutionise vertical lift for the U.S. Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake.
We are thrilled to share in this success of the V-280 first flight with Team Valor. The V-280 intends to completely transform what is possible for the military when it comes to battle planning and forward operations.”
The V-280 is reported to be designed for a cruising speed of 280 knots a top speed of 300 knots, a range of 2,100 nautical miles and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nmi. Expected maximum takeoff weight is around 30,000 lb say Bell.
In one major difference from the earlier V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the engines remain in place while the rotors and drive shafts tilt. A driveshaft runs through the straight wing, allowing both prop rotors to be driven by a single engine in the event of engine loss.
The V-280 will have a crew of 4 and be capable of transporting up to 14 troops. Dual cargo hooks will give it a lift capacity to carry a 10,000 lb M777A2 Howitzer while flying at a speed of 150 knots.