Bell V-280 Valor is a third-generation tilt-rotor aircraft being developed by Bell Helicopter for the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. Last weekend, The Aviationist published first images of the first demonstrator aircraft being prepared for engine tests ahead of its maiden flight, which is planned for September 2017.
According to The Aviationist, the V-280 Valor is Bell’s submission for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) phase, the technology demonstration precursor to Future Vertical Lift (FVL), a replacement for the service’s Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters.
The V-280 will have a crew of four (including two pilots) and be capable of transporting up to 14 troops. Its cruising speed will be 280 knots (hence the designation V-280) and its top speed will be 300 knots. It is designed for a range of 2,100 nautical miles and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nautical miles. It also features a triple-redundant flight-by-wire Flight Control System and cutting-edge avionics.
The US Army plans to field two distinct platforms: a utility helicopter and an attack helicopter. For this reason, a variant, dubbed AV-280, is expected to carry rocket, missiles and even small UAVs.