Bell Helicopter is reportedly applying its proposed 525 Relentless helicopter technology to the V-280 Valor, which is competing for the US Army’s joint multirole technology demonstrator (JMR-TD) contract.
Bell Helicopter future vertical lift director Keith Flail was quoted by AINonline as saying that the Valor’s commonality with the 525 technology is reducing the company’s risk on the development of a JMR-TD platform for the army.
"There is a high degree of commonality, especially in the nose section, between the V-280 and the 525. The front end of the aircraft is similar."
Bell Helicopter military programme operations director Chris Gehler said: "Doing a clean-sheet [design] such as the 525, having that corporate knowledge, and carrying it on to advancing tiltrotor technology, has been helpful to our process."
In addition to the 525 technology, the company is also using experience gained from the development of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor to make the V-280 a competitive vehicle for the JMR programme.
While the engines, gearboxes and prop-rotors on the V-22 are required to rotate as thrust direction is changed, the rotation in V-280 is limited to the gearboxes and prop-rotors only.
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In addition, the third-generation tiltrotor technology demonstrator features a straight wing, unlike V-22’s forward wing sweep, which simplifies wing production and eliminates the requirement for a mid-wing gearbox.
Flail said: "We spent a lot of time focusing on the maintainability and modularity of the V-280’s components."
Developed with an army-centric design, the V-280 Valor is designed to provide the service with the ability to conduct a multitude of missions with enhanced speed and agility.
It reportedly provides the best value in procurement, operations and support, as well as force structure, while the helicopter’s fewer parts also lower complexity compared with previous tiltrotors.
Bell is competing against AVX Aircraft, Karem Aircraft and Sikorsky Aircraft to build the aircraft, which is scheduled to fly in 2017.
The US Army was supposed to shortlist two contenders for the programme by the end of last month, according to AINonline.