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.
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