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AUSA 2015: Bell emphasises affordable tiltrotor tech in US Army FVL offering

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Zarvan, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    Artist's impression of the V-280 in flight. Source: Bell Helicopter
    Key Points
    • Bell Helicopter is working to make next-generation tiltrotor technology more affordable
    • The company wants to end its JMR technology demonstration at a high enough technology readiness level to enter production by 2025
    Bell Helicopter is working to make next-generation tiltrotor technology more affordable for the military, company CEO John Garrison said on 12 October at the Association of the US Army's annual conference in Washington, DC.

    The company is offering its V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft to the Pentagon for its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme to replace legacy helicopter technology beginning in the 2030s.

    "The warfighter needs speed, range, and payload; this is what the customer is saying they need," Garrison said during a press briefing. "But they also need sustainability, reliability, and affordability. A lot of the technology development works towards hitting the important goal of affordability."

    Garrison added that the Pentagon can save on support infrastructure requirements if it chooses Bell's V-280 for FVL because the aircraft is so fast. "With V-280 technology, you'd need one or maybe two [forward refuelling bases] to cover the same territory and distance" for which legacy helicopters need 10-11 refuelling points. "Think of the support infrastructure you save by not needing that," he added.

    Garrison said that Bell and its industry partners are investing about four times the US Army's contract award amount for the FVL precursor Joint Multirole Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme.

    Bell is focusing that JMR investment on reducing risk for FVL, Chris Gehler, Bell's director of global business development for military programmes, said during a 25 September interview with IHS Jane's .

    "We intend to come out of JMR-TD at a high technology readiness level [TRL]," he said. "We want to be at TRL 7 and ready to go into production." The company is already looking ahead to the acquisition effort.

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    AUSA 2015: Bell emphasises affordable tiltrotor tech in US Army FVL offering - IHS Jane's 360