By Darren Quick
Bell Helicopter has thrown its tiltrotor hat into the ring for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi Role (JMR)/Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program with the unveiling of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor concept at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America’s (AAAA) Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas. The aircraft is up against an X2-based design from Boeing and Sikorsky, a coaxial design from AVX Aircraft, and a still unknown proposal from EADS
Bell calls its offering a third generation tiltrotor, building on the experience gained from the first generation XV-3 and XV-15, to the second generation609 civil tiltrotor and V-22 Osprey. Unlike the V-22, whose engines tilt along with the rotors, the engines of the V-280 remain fixed horizontally while the rotors and drive system tilt.
The wing is also straight rather than forward-swept like the V-22’s. This wing will be produced in one large piece and utilize Large Cell Carbon Core technology in an effort to reduce weight and manufacturing costs. This construction will also allow immediate detection of damage to the wing. The aircraft also features a V-tail, composite fuselage and a triple redundant fly-buy-wire flight control system.
The “V” in V-280 stands for “Vertical,” while the 280 refers to the aircraft’s 280 knot (322 mph/518 km/h) cruising speed. Designed as a medium class aircraft, the V-280 has space for a crew of four and 11 troops who can enter and exit through two six foot (1.8 m) wide side doors, which are also designed to increase door gunners’ field of fire. Bell lists its combat range at 500 to 800 nautical miles (575 miles/926 km), with a self-deploy range of 2,100 nautical miles (2,417 miles/3,889 km).
The JMR Technology Demonstrator effort aims to develop a replacement medium-lift rotorcraft for the U.S. Army’s fleet of Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters, with one or more of the aforementioned companies to be selected to build a prototype ready for take off in 2017.
Bell Helicopter looks to have sunk a bit of money into the following video showing how the V-280 might look when complete.
Source: Bell Helicopter