Transformational, Affordable Scout Aircraft
Bell Textron announced on 4 June the establishment of Team Invictus, bringing together programmatic and operational expertise from nine leading aerospace companies to manage the delivery of the Bell 360 INVICTUS, a transformational, affordable scout helicopter for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance (FARA) programme.
Each industry partner brings unique experience and technological expertise to provide a low-risk path for the Army’s acquisition of a lethal, affordable rotorcraft with advanced mission systems to modernise aviation for multi-domain operations (MDO). Team members are working closely together to deliver the Bell 360 Invictus prototype using a configuration that emphasizes operational availability, sustainability, and maintainability.
“Team Invictus is working together to show how cutting-edge technology will give soldiers the ability to confidently operate in the complex and contested battlespace of multi-domain operations,” explained Chris Gehler, VP and Programme Director for FARA at Bell. “Future Vertical Lift is critical for the Army’s ability to win in multi-domain operations with FARA defeating defensive layers and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) exploiting opened areas to achieve operational objectives.”
Team Invictus members include:
• Astronics Corporation – a modular framework of airframe power generation, conversion and distribution products;
• Collins Aerospace – new-generation avionics hardware and software, featuring cyber-hardened, digital backbone solutions to configure and integrate mission systems;
• GE Aviation – the 3,000shp T901 engine and aircraft health awareness system;
• ITT-Enidine, Inc. – passive Liquid Inertia Vibration Eliminator (LIVE) units;
• L3Harris Technologies – WESCAM MX-15D multisensory, multispectral imaging and targeting system;
• Parker Lord – rotor dampers, main rotor bearing, tail rotore tension strap and Active Vibration Control system;
• Mecaer Aviation Group – fully retractable tail dragger landing gear system;
• MOOG, Inc. – flight control computer electronics, software and flight control actuation;
• TRU Simulation + Training – high-fidelity flight simulator.
Team Invictus is applying digital design and manufacturing technologies, including maintenance as part of the design process and use of emerging commercial practices to bring a holistic view of digital models, processing and analysis to reduce lifecycle maintenance and servicing requirements, thus reducing sustainment costs.
“Each team member brings a capability that is vital to the success of the Bell 360 and we are honored to have proven, capable, and well-respected industry partners on Team Invictus […] This is an outstanding industry team, and we are working diligently to produce a FARA weapon system that is operationally effective and affordably sustainable, as well as complementary and in many ways common to the FLRAA programme,” Gehler added.
Following the selection of the Bell 360 INVICTUS for the competitive prototype in March 2020, Team Invictus continues to move forward rapidly. Team Invictus’ collective expertise reduces programme risk while preserving the Army’s FARA schedule, leading to a first flight targeted for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022.