LONDON – The U.S. Army has given the contract to Bell Textron to supply its latest V-280 Valor Tiltrotor to replace the Black Hawk. The contract is worth around $1.3 billion.
This news is highly anticipated after many in the industry are waiting as the competition between Sikorsky-Boeing’s bid — the Defiant X coaxial rotor blade platform was very tight. Bell is now being crowned by the US Army FLRAA project or Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft.
The next 19th month will be crucial as Bell’s design will be funded by the U.S. government totalling $232 million to bring the tilt-rotor from the virtual prototype to the production stage, which the U.S Government will purchase.
Bell’s competition is the Sikorsky-Boeing coaxial rotor blade, which is a pair of rotor blades installed on top of one another, whereas the tiltrotor from Bell resembles the V-22 Osprey, already in use by the Marines. Special Operators and the U.S. Navy. Moreover, the
While the V-280 is the best choice to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk, officials have prepared for a potential protest from the Sikorsky-Boeing team and “have accounted for that in our timelines,” said Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.
As has been stated, the contract is valued at $1.3 billion – USD as announced on the 5th of December. The U.S. Army is looking to replace approximately 2,000 Black Hawks, as well as 1,200 Apache attack helicopters. Here, the government sees the Bell tiltrotor being a viable option over its rival Defiance X in pursuing such missions.
The tiltrotors are expected to be delivered to the Army in 2025. Within 4-5 years, the army is also expected to receive its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, which is under development for reconnaissance, scouting and search and rescue (SAR) missions.
The company’s top man Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell stated: “Bell has a long history supporting Army Aviation.”
“We are ready to equip soldiers with the speed and range they need to compete and win using the most mature, reliable, and affordable high-performance long-range assault weapon system in the world.”
Indeed, this may explain why Bell won the contract.
V-280 Valor – An Innovative Machine
Bell has never failed to disappoint the public, let alone its government. The V-280 Valor, is an innovation which was nominated for the National Aeronautic Association Collier Trophy, which is not a surprise, due to its tiltrotor design and its agility.
Moreover, the vertical lift has allowed the machine to fly twice the speed and range of the current inventory possessed by the Army.
The machine is poised to replace the Black Hawk and the Apache’s which means that a tiltrotor is a multi-role machine, decreasing inventory in the army hence, the organisation can be much more efficient.
Some of the roles that this machine can achieve are reconnaissance, attack, medevac VIP and other utility missions. The V-280 Valor can fly up to 280 knots and can fly as far up to 500 nautical miles.
Textron’s chairman, Scott Donnelly stated with optimism: “We are honoured that the U.S. Army has selected the Bell V-280 Valor as its next-generation assault aircraft.”
“We intend to honour that trust by building a truly remarkable and transformational weapon system to meet the Army’s mission requirements. We are excited to play an important role in the future of Army Aviation.”
The V-280 Valor will definitely be one of the greatest assets for the U.S. Army since the introduction of the Black Hawk.