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Future Military Aircraft Bell V-280 Valor Initiates Ground Testing

V-280 Prototype

The US Army’s Joint Multi-Role Demonstrator Program, set to establish advanced technologies for the Pentagon’s Future Vertical Lift program, has now initiated its ground testing to aircraft now known as the Bell V-280 Valor. The Bell V-280 Valor is projected to be the modernized upgraded version of the 30-year-old designed V-22 Osprey, yet designed to replace medium sized aircraft of the military such as the UH-60 Blackhawk and the H-1 Series of the Marine Corps.

The Army’s development effort could lead to a potentially $100 billion Future Vertical Lift program to replace the service’s fleets of UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters made by Sikorsky and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters made by Boeing, although any aircraft probably wouldn’t enter service until the 2030’s.

“We are going to do it better than we did on the V-22. The V-22 was designed in the 1980’s … and we have taken it under our imperatives to fix what wasn’t perfect on the V-22 and get as close to perfect as we can on the V-280.” stated Vince Tobin, vice president of Advanced Tiltrotor Systems for Bell Helicopter.

The engineers originally thought that wings on the V-22 had to be swept forward due to wing flap during forward flight. Now, with over 300,000 flight hours on the V-22, engineers discovered that the blades do not flap in forward flight. The V-280 was selected to have a straight wing design, meaning that the mid-wing gearbox is unneeded. There is no drive system coming into change the direction over the top of the fuselage like with the V-22 – totaling with four gear boxes on the V-280 while the V-22 has five.

Visible upgrades to the aircraft could be seen in the images below, all provided by Bell Helicopters.
Video footage of the successful ground test could be viewed here.

Bell V-280 ValorV-280 PrototypeThe Bell V-280 ValorThe Bell V-280 Valor

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