Bell’s V-280 Valor achieved its optimal cruise speed of 280 knots last week during a test flight at the company’s Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas.
The flight on January 23, 2019 comes after a year of flight testing – ground testing of the tilt-rotor aircraft began in October 2017 and it made its maiden flight during December 2017.
The aircraft has logged 85 hours of flight time during the last year.
The V-280 Valor is described by Bell as the next generation of vertical lift aircraft for the US military. It is named after its cruising speed of 280 knots.
The aircraft has been designed to conduct long range assault missions at twice the speed and range of existing medium lift helicopters.
Ryan Ehinger, V-280 program manager at Bell said, “Cruising at twice the speed of legacy helicopters with double the range really changes the way the US military can enable multi-domain operations. By eliminating forward refueling points alone, leaders can focus on operational goals while minimizing logistical burdens.”
Flight testing of the V-280 is planned to continue for the next year to prove key performance parameters and to expand the performance envelope in areas such as low-speed agility maneuvers, angles of bank and autonomous flight.
Its development program is part of the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator program. Partners on the program include Lockheed Martin, GE, Moog, IAI, TRU Simulation & Training, Astronics, Eaton, GKN Aerospace, Lord, Meggitt and Spirit AeroSystems. The companies are collectively referred to as Team Valor.