Bell’s New V-280 Tilt-Rotor Makes First Flight

Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor made its first flight on December 18. It differs from the V-22 Osprey mainly because only its rotors pivot, while the engine nacelles remain in position, thereby simplifying the tilting mechanism. (Bell photo)

AMARILLO, Texas --- Bell Helicopter today announced that its V-280 Valor has achieved first flight. The V-280 Valor is a next-generation tiltrotor that is designed to provide unmatched agility, speed, range and payload capabilities at an affordable cost.

This milestone represents exceptional progress on the V-280 development program and brings Bell Helicopter one step closer to creating the next generation of vertical lift aircraft for the U.S. military.

“This is an exciting time for Bell Helicopter, and I could not be more proud of the progress we have made with first flight of the Bell V-280,” says Mitch Snyder, President & CEO for Bell Helicopter. “First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernization priorities and acquisition reform initiatives. The Valor is designed to revolutionize vertical lift for the U.S. 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,” added Snyder. “The V-280 intends to completely transform what is possible for the military when it comes to battle planning and forward operations.”

The Bell V-280 Valor program is part of the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) initiative. The JMR-TD program is the science and technology precursor to the Department of Defense's Future Vertical Lift program. The V-280 program brings together the engineering resources and industrial capabilities of Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, GE, Moog, IAI, TRU Simulation & Training, Astronics, Eaton, GKN Aerospace, Lord, Meggitt and Spirit AeroSystems—collectively referred to as Team Valor.

The Bell V-280 Valor is postured to provide the U.S. Army with the highest levels of maturity and technical readiness. The aircraft is designed to provide the best value in procurement, operations and support, and force structure, while delivering desired leap-ahead performance capabilities with increased maintainability, reliability and affordability to the DoD.

With twice the speed and range of conventional helicopters, the Valor is designed to offer maneuver commanders unmatched operational agility to self-deploy and perform a multitude of vertical lift missions currently unachievable in one aircraft. The Bell V-280 is a combat force multiplier with superior performance, payload, survivability, and reliability to give the warfighter the decisive advantage.

Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

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