Building on a full year’s worth of testing and more than 85 hours of flight time, Bell’s V-280 Valor reached its namesake cruising speed of 280 knots true airspeed this week.
Bell and Team Valor continue to methodically and very successfully expand the flight envelope. The aircraft continues to prove its performance is well beyond legacy rotorcraft and will deliver revolutionary capability for warfighters as part of the Future of Vertical Lift (FVL) program.
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.
Purpose-built to conduct long range assault at twice the speed and range of existing medium lift helicopters, the V-280’s technical maturity demonstrates that close collaboration between government and industry can deliver transformational capabilities in a rapid and sustainable process.
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 minimizing logistical burdens.
Additionally, Bell’s digital design and design-as-built methodology for the V-280 focused on creating a sustainable and affordable aircraft. The team took great care to simplify designs and advance technology readiness to inform requirements for FVL CS3.
As the program 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) program. The next stages will expand the performance envelope highlighting further low-speed agility maneuvers, angles of bank and autonomous flight.
These milestones continue to demonstrate that the V-280 Valor is ready and that the Future of Vertical Lift is now.