IDEX 2017: Bell Details Future Helicopter Technology

V-280, CMV-22, UH-1Y VENOM,  AH-1Z

 
In 50 years we will only see tiltrotor technology,” Richard Harris, VP International Military Sales Bell Helicopter, said at IDEX. “Bell Helicopter is committed to leading the future of vertical lift with advanced military technology. We are confident that we have the right products for the Middle East and there has been a lot of interest in our military aircraft in the region. We are looking forward to potential military sales in the region this year.”
 
All Bell sales are done through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) only. A lot of nations are asking for civilian derivates, but these have normally a 20-25% higher price.
 
Bell is succeeding great progress on the development of the V-280 demonstrator for the US forces. It is now more than 95% complete; highly anticipating first flight in 2017. There might be more important news on the Dubai Air Show, maybe me maiden flight.
 
Bell Helicopter was awarded a $461 million contract in March 2016 from the US Pentagon to supply the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) more than two dozen new utility and attack helicopters. The contract includes 12 UH-1Y VENOM utility helicopters and 16 AH-1Z VIPER attack helicopters and the associated auxiliary fuel kits.
 
Bell Helicopter unveiled the Bell V-247 tiltrotor, an unmanned aerial system (UAS) that will combine the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed wing aircraft.
 
The V-22 has changed the way the USMC operates through its first 300,000 flight hours. It offers a much bigger range (1,000 mi) and speed to operate and fulfill missions. A V-22 can do a mission with one flight, where a normal helicopters needs four hops and much more time and refueling. The USMC ordered 360 V-22, the 300. will be delivered this year. US Navy ordered 44, in addition there are 52 SOF versions for the US Army and 12 presidential VIP machines.
 
Because of its different technology and capabilities there is also a high interest in the Middle East region.
 
The availability is 80-85% in USMC missions, and >95% for the VIP missions. There is still a continued investment in capabilities (inlet barrier filter, forward firing capability, air-to-air refuel). The CMV-22 is in its final engineering design phase. It will over the user more fuel and the possibility for air-to-air refueling. First CMV-22 will be available 2020/21.
 
Important to note, it is designed and optimized for a different mission than the V-280. The entire wing on the V-22 folds and rotates to allow for compact stowage for Navy surface ships. This was part of the original requirement for the V-22.
 
Bell V-280 VALOR is an aircraft that will provide unmatched speed, range, payload, agility, survivability and endurance and at an affordable cost. It will lift the air transport of the US Army to a net level. It combines the best of both worlds:  The Bell V-280 tiltrotor is a platform with a helicopter’s low speed agility with fixed-wing high speed performance. With the V-280 every MH-60 BLACKHAWK and AH-64 APACHE in the U.S. Army fleet could be replaced, as well as all UH-1 and AH-1s in the USMC fleet, so the Bell plan. It is 95% completed and on track for first flight this year.
 
And last but not least, there is the Bell V-247 VIGILANT, a low-risk, achievable approach to satisfying the USMC MUX (MAGTF unmanned Expeditionary Capabilities) requirement for a Group 4/5 UAS. It should provide an expeditionary capability with small logistical footprint in a modular payload system that enables flexibility:  rapid configuration changes for specific missions. Like 24 hour persistent ISR with a two aircraft system or 10+ hrs Time-on-Station with 600 lb of payload at a 450 mile mission radius. It can be based on ships or on land – land basing requires no runway. Reduces security, personnel, and logistical needs. Performance and capability with today’s engines enables MS-C as early as 2023.
 

 

Publish date

02/20/2017

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