The Bell V-280 Valor successfully achieved its namesake optimal cruise speed of 280 knots, say Bell.
Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell, said:
“It is a remarkable achievement to hit this airspeed for the V-280 Valor in just over a year of flight testing. Beyond the exemplary speed and agility of this aircraft, this significant milestone is yet another proof point that the V-280 is mature technology, and the future is now for FVL capability set 3.”
The V-280 is, say the builders, purpose-built to conduct long range assault at twice the speed and range of existing medium lift helicopters.
Ryan Ehinger, V-280 programme manager at Bell, said in a release:
“Cruising at twice the speed of legacy helicopters, with double the range, really changes the way the U.S. military can enable multi-domain operations. By eliminating forward refueling points alone, leaders can focus on operational goals while minimising logistical burdens.”
As the programme moves into 2019, V-280 flight testing will continue to prove out Bell’s key performance parameters and reduce FVL risk in the U.S. Army led Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme.
The next stages will expand the performance envelope exploring further low-speed agility maneuvers, angles of bank and autonomous flight.
- Forward flight at 280 knots true airspeed
- Over 85 hours of flight and more than 180 rotor turn hours
- In-flight transitions between cruise mode and vertical takeoff and landing
- 45-degree banked turns at 200 knots indicated airspeed
- 4500 feet per minute rate of climb and sustained flight at 11,500 feet altitude
- Single flight ferry of over 370 miles
- Demonstrated low and high-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls