The V-280 Valor, Bell Helicopter’s vertical takeoff demonstrator funded by the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) program, reached a first ever flight speed of 80 knots (92 mph) while in cruise mode. The Valor’s top speed is 280 knots and can carry 4 crew members and 14 troops with a range of 2100+ nautical miles.
The V-280 Valor’s unmatched speed, range, payload, and operational agility will allow the military to rewrite the book on what’s possible in forward operations and battle planning. The future vertical lift (FVL) aircraft has been behaving extremely well in its tests, reports Jen Judson of Defense News.
Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor, a tilt-rotor aircraft built for a U.S. Army-led demonstration, has reached a flight speed of 80 knots and is flying at an altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level, said Keith Flail, the company’s vice president for advanced tilt-rotor systems, who spoke to Defense News in a Feb. 5 interview.
The V-280 had its maiden flight Dec. 18 at the Bell facility in Amarillo, Texas, picking up off the ground in a low hover for roughly 15 to 20 minutes.
“So far the aircraft is behaving incredibly well,” Flail said. To date, Valor has ticked off 8.2 flight hours total, more than 28 hours in restrained ground runs and more than 52 hours of rotor turn time.
Last week was a particularly big week for the new demonstrator when it reached 80 knots of air speed flying at an altitude of 1,000 feet accompanied by a chase aircraft, Flail said. Valor has also performed 360-degree hover-in-ground effects and has faced winds of roughly 15 knots at all azimuths, he added.
Bell finished building the tilt-rotor aircraft in September and began ground runs that month.
The Army had been planning — through its Joint Multi-Role demonstrator program — for two very different vertical lift prototypes to begin flight demonstrations last fall as part of a critical path to informing and shaping the design of a Future Vertical Lift helicopter fleet expected to hit the skies in the 2030s.
Source: Defense News