The Bell V-280 Valor prototype has successfully achieved first flight at the Bell Helicopter assembly facility in Amarillo, TX.
Interestingly, both the images and the footage released by Bell Helicopter have been doctored to hide some details of the Valor’s T64-GE-419 tilting gearbox design: unlike the V-22‘s engines that rotate along with the gearboxes, in the V-280, the gearbox is the only thing that rotates.
Anyway, the gearbox is clearly visible in the images we have published on Aug. 30.
JUST IN: Bell V-280 Valor first flight footage.
This milestone represents exceptional progress on the V-280 development program and brings Bell Helicopter one step closer to creating the next generation of vertical lift aircraft for the U.S. military. pic.twitter.com/8isQNPm3Uf
— Bell Helicopter (@BellHelicopter) December 18, 2017
The V-280 Valor is Bell’s submission for the U.S. 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 4 (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 kts. It’s designed for a range of 2,100 nautical miles and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nmi although the Army’s requirements for the demonstrator call for hot and high hover performance (at 6,000 feet and 95 F), and the ability to self-deploy 2,100 nautical miles at a speed of at least 230 knots.
H/T our friend Isaac Alexander (@jetcitystar) for the heads-up.