Bell Textron is executing the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) contract phase two for the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme.

The CD&RR contract was awarded in March last year. Sikorsky-Boeing team has also received the phase two contract.

Bell is offering its V-280 Valor tilt-rotor vertical lift helicopter design for FLRAA. It is competing against Sikorsky-Boeing team jointly developed SB-1 Defiant, a compound co-axial helicopter.

Bell Advanced Vertical Lift Systems executive vice-president Keith Flail said: “This is the next step to a programme of record and Bell is proud to closely collaborate with the Army to transition our flight-proven V-280 Valor into a highly-capable and sustainable FLRAA weapons system.

“Bell and our Team Valor teammates continue to optimize our platform based on research, design, and thorough flight-testing of the aircraft to deliver an outstanding capability for the army.”

The two teams will complete an initial preliminary design event for major subsystems and the conceptual weapons system under these contracts.

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During the first phase of the CD&RR contract, Bell provided detailed iterations on the V-280 design, data to highlight the feasibility of executing the programme of record requirements, as well as executed trade studies using ‘model-based systems engineering’.

This phase one contract work will continue under phase two as the US Army concludes requirements for the programme of record planned for 2022.

Since its first flight in 2017, the V-280 aircraft team has executed a rigorous flight test programme flying over 200 hours via 160 individual test flights.

This delivered critical data to validate Bell’s digital models and performance.

Bell FLRAA vice-president and programme director Ryan Ehinger said: “This aircraft is not an engineering science project. The V-280 tiltrotor provides a critical and combat-proven capability needed to maintain our US military’s ability to deter adversaries by radically improving over the current fleet’s speed, range, versatility, and sustainability.”