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Bell pitches flight-tested Valor for the army's FLRAA
Thursday, 1 July 2021
The V-280 Valor has marked the completion of its three-year flight-test program with a series of demonstrations to highlight its revolutionary performance during more than 214 hours of flight.

Bell Textron is advancing Bell's flight-proven V-280 Valor program to meet requirements for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program of record. The competition is expected to begin with the Army releasing a Request for Proposals this summer. The optimised design for a fleet of next-generation tiltrotors builds on the exemplary flight-test results and programmatic execution during the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD) program and Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) efforts.

Bell and Team Valor are transitioning focus to the critical next phase of the competition supporting Army Modernisation. The V-280 Valor marked the completion of its three-year flight-test program with a series of demonstrations to highlight its revolutionary performance during more than 214 hours of flight. The V-280 completed all planned Key Performance Parameters including low-speed agility, long-range cruise, 305 knot high-speed flights, and rapid mission systems integration during this thorough test period. Five Army Experimental Test Pilots have flown the V-280 over 15 sorties. Additionally, Bell hosted "Soldier Touchpoint" events enabling critical feedback from pilots, mechanics, and infantry squads for the Army program office to inform their requirements. This feedback provided critical data that decreased risk and rapidly advanced the maturation of technology for a FLRAA weapons system to meet warfighters Joint All-Domain Operational requirements.

"The FLRAA challenge presented by the U.S. Army was unattainable using helicopter configurations. They have been clear about the need to modernise and field transformational capabilities. We assessed several vertical lift technologies and determined the tiltrotor to be the only solution to the agility, range, and speed requirements of a Long-Range Assault Aircraft that can meet the cost, timeline, and risk profile required for a successful acquisition program. Bell and our Team Valor teammates could not be more proud of the V-280's record of performance in close collaboration with the U.S. Army throughout the JMR TD and CD&RR to date," says Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. "Our team is committed to providing the Army the highest performance and flight-proven option to move into the FLRAA program of record."

In addition to flight-testing, Bell and Team Valor delivered extensive data explaining how the program will deliver an affordable program by developing a weapons system built with efficiency in mind. The V-280 incorporates a Modular Open Systems Approach and relies on simplified and inherently reliable designs to increase lifecycle affordability and sustainment using a holistic view of digital models, processing and analysis to improve operations and maintenance.

"We have come a long way since we started our journey eight years ago. We made commitments, we safely executed our program on time, and we validated our performance claims and the accuracy of our digital models through flight demonstrations. Ultimately, the Army doesn't send warfighters into battle riding in the back of digital models and so we thought it was important to bring that physical proof," says Ryan Ehinger, vice president and program director, FLRAA at Bell. "This next-generation aircraft technology provides a proven foundation, the 'truck', for the employment of our open architecture digital backbone to provide maximum flexibility for the Army to sustain their mission systems in a way that makes sense for them. It also empowers them to ensure their long-term interoperability in future Joint All-Domain Operations."

As the FLRAA competition moves towards a program of record, Bell will continue CD&RR Phase II efforts to provide initial preliminary designs for major subsystems and the conceptual weapons system, based on data-proven performance that ensures transformational capabilities will be delivered in line with the Army's schedule.

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