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: