V-280 Valor Next-Gen VTOL Tilt-Rotor Aircraft Flight Demo

By David Cenciotti

On Jul. 31, 2018 the first prototype of the Bell V-280 Valor, registration N280BH, performed a flight demo for invited media and dignitaries at Bell Helicopter Amarillo Assembly Center.

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 (that have just celebrated its 40th anniversary) 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 and its top speed will be around 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.

The flight demo on Jul. 31, was filmed by Steve Douglass in slow motion, at 120 fps. The videos in this page provide an interesting look from all angles at the Bell Next-Generation Tilt-Rotor Aircraft, including its “famous” T64-GE-419 tilting gearbox design (whose details were blurred images and footage officially released by Bell Helicopter when the aircraft was rolled out and performed its maiden flight): unlike the V-22‘s engines that rotate along with the gearboxes, in the V-280, the gearbox is the only thing that rotates.

According to Douglass, the Valor is much quieter than an Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. During the demo, Bell program manager said they are working on an unmanned version – slightly smaller – same engine layout. They also hope to make gunship versions for the US Marine Corps.

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Original article: https://theaviationist.com/?p=58116