Bell Helicopters, the American aerospace manufacturer, has just submitted the V-280 Valor to US Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) phase arranged for the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) that will replace the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH064 Apache helicopters that are in service right now.
The helicopter is designed to accommodate a crew of four people including the two pilots to transport up to 14 troops. The designation V-280 comes from its cruising speed of 280 knots, but it can reach upto the top speed of 300 knots. The Valor can go to a range of 2,100 nautical miles on average and has a combat range of 500 to 800 nautical miles.
The next generation helicopter comes with a flight-by-wire Flight Control System and cutting edge avionics. The first prototype craft made its appearance at Bell Helicopter Amarillo Assembly Center with the registration N280BH on August 30. The Valor is being prepared for engine tests before its maiden flight that is expected to happen around September of this year.
Steve Douglass filmed a short video of the futuristic helicopter that shows the T64-GE-419 engines and gearboxes very clearly.
Bell gives a little insight into the probable Future Vertical Lift (FVL) craft stating,
“The output shaft is connected to the drive system through a spiral bevel gearbox that transfers power to the fixed gearbox and proprotor gearbox, which rotates on two big spherical bearings driven by a conversion actuator mechanism.”
The US Army is looking for a utility helicopter and an attack helicopter, where the AV-280 will serve to carry rocket missiles as well as small UAVs.
One must admit the grandeur and technological advancement of these tech-savvy helicopters. Simply amazing!