First flight for Bell V-280 Valor

The V-280 lifts off for its first flight on December 18. (Bell)

The Bell V-280 Valor made its first flight from Bell’s Amarillo Texas facility on December 18.

The tiltrotor aircraft has a fuselage similar to that of a Black Hawk, but features short stubby wings and rotating engine nacelles which allows it to transition from vertical to horizontal flight.

Built for the US Army’s Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program which aims to find a replacement for the Black Hawk, the V-280 is designed to be more flexible, much faster and have a greater range-payload capacity than its forebear.

“First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernization priorities and acquisition reform initiatives,” Bell Helicopter President and chief executive Mitch Snyder said.

“The Valor is designed to revolutionise vertical lift for the US Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake.

“We are thrilled to share in this success of the V-280 first flight with Team Valor.

“The V-280 intends to completely transform what is possible for the military when it comes to battle planning and forward operations.”

The V-280 is up against the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 concept which features a more conventional helicopter main rotor and a tail-mounted pusher-prop.

MechDesign.xyz posted a video of the first flight on its YouTube channel:

Comments

  1. Mick C says

    Australia will be keeping a close eye on this program as a possible MRH-90 replacement in the early 2030s. Promises far superior flight performance.

  2. John N says

    Mick C,

    I take you point about a possible future MRH-90 replacement, but unless the ‘wing’ can fold up like the V-22 Osprey, then there will be a problem with deck and hangar storage on the LHD’s and other RAN ships that are likely to operate MRH-90.

    Yes a V-280 would be good for land based operations, not so practical for sea based operations (footprint is too big without a folding mechanism), and I can’t see the ADF procuring two future types for similar roles.

    Anyway, just my opinion of course.

    Cheers,

    John N

  3. Mick C says

    John N
    I do agree with your point to a degree but this program which looks like its going to come down to a competition between aircraft based on the V-280 & S-97 promises a Aircraft with a revolutionary improvement in performance over the Blackhawks & 90s that I would not automatically write off a split buy.
    It is going to be a very interesting program to follow and big prizes for the winner,

  4. Derrick says

    @David, it’s the gearbox and engines that are blurred out, I think Bell want to keep some parts of the V-280 under wraps until further down in the development stage. Reading up on the V-280,it gearbox is the thing that everyone wants to look at, as it’s more complex than the V-22.