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Bell V-280 Valor

United States (2020)
Picture of Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator
Picture of Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator Picture of Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator
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The Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor demonstrator will be marketed to the U.S. Army for its Future Vertical Lift program.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator.  Entry last updated on 6/22/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Bell Helicopters is forging their 3rd Generation Tiltrotor concept for marketing to the United States Army and its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. Convinced that the near-future battlefield will require increased hauling capabilities as well as top flight speeds, Bell has gone the traditional route with its V-280 Valor tiltrotor proposal, utilizing elements and experience in having developed the now in-service Bell V-22 "Osprey" series currently at the frontlines in Afghanistan and Iraq. 1st Generation Tiltrotor is applied to early experimental forms such as the XV-3 while the V-22 receives the 2nd Generation Tiltrotor classification.

The original V-22 combined the capabilities of a traditional rotary-wing system (helicopter) with that of a fixed-wing aircraft. This was made possible through use of twin three-bladed rotors fitted to variable-position engine nacelles found at the ends of a high-mounted wing spar. The fuselage was held under the wing with the empennage raised to allow for a powered door. The flight deck was concentrated to the front of the vehicle with the cargo hold/passenger cabin taking up the rest of the internal volume. The concept, after a rough start due to technical issues, eventually proved sound and allowed for maximum speeds of up to 315 miles per hour while operating at 15,000 feet altitude. Approximately 160 V-22s have been produced to date (2013) through the joint Bell Boeing venture.

The V-280 represents a further development of the same concept, turboshafts fitted to wingtip engine nacelles with full rotor tilting capabilities to allow for Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), hovering or straight line flight. However, the newer design incorporates fixed engine nacelles that sport tilting drive and three-bladed rotor systems - a major departure from the wholly tilting nacelles of the V-22. This new arrangement, therefore, would decrease the threat posed to ground personnel around the aircraft such as maintenance personnel or those infantry embarking/disembarking by way of two sliding fuselage doors. The concept includes a fuselage design akin to the competing Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk mated to a low empennage mounting two outward canted vertical fins (which would preclude use of a rear loading ramp as in the V-22). The fuselage sports a downward-sloping nose for excellent vision out of the cockpit for the two pilots while the passenger cabin is lined with large rectangular vision ports. The undercarriage - consisting of two single-wheeled landing gear legs and a twin-wheeled tail unit - would be retractable, aiding in the aircraft's aerodynamic efficiency.

Competitors to such tiltrotor designs are the hybrid "compound" helicopters which field a conventional mast-mounted main rotor along with a pair of fixed "puller" rotors along the fuselage sides (or perhaps a single "pusher" rotor at the tail unit). Both concepts adequately solve the VTOL and straight line flight issues and evolve traditional helicopter design through both the promise of increased speed and range which, in turn, serve to improve tactical value in a theater of war. The US Army is looking for a vehicle reaching 230 knots (265 mph) to which the V-280, according to early Bell estimates, reaches the 280 knot (322 mph) range. Bell suggests that the V-280 could also manage a 2,100 nautical mile (2,417 mile) range allowing it access to a majority of existing, or those possible, warzones such as Afghanistan (approx. 90% coverage) and North Korea (100% coverage). This would allow the US Army to operate without the need to call in a major transport.

The V-280 Valor concept was officially debuted at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of American gathering in Fort Worth, Texas in early April. Bell marketing material also hints at an armed gunship variant for the escort role, this version outfitted with an internal fuselage bay fielding four laser-guided bombs and outboard pylons mounting 19-shot laser-guided rockets.

Bell engineers intend to implement several cost saving measures into the V-280 design including a single-piece carbon wing assembly, efficient turboshaft engines and rotor blades and improved hover capabilities. Another challenge in the V-280 design as it exists today would remain in delivering a fixed-wing tiltrotor via long-range transport to hotspots involving American forces. Such an endeavor would require full removal of the wing and engines element(s).

In any case, the V-280 - as with its compound helicopter competitors - remains a promising venture for Bell and may very well advance the modern battlefield to an extent. Bell markets the V-280 on excellent endurance (twice that of the existing UH-60 Black Hawk line, the current US Army workhorse), improved safety features concerning tiltrotor designs (V-22 development suffered notable casualties on several occasions) and improved hovering performance at altitude.

Provided dimensions and specifications are estimated and subject to change with program evolution.


Picture of the Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator
Picture of the Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator



Any available statistics for the Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




  Program Updates  


April 2016 - The basic framework of the V-280 fuselage is in place at the Bell factory. The aircraft underwent wing mating and its progress is promising to date.

December 2016 - Systems power testing was undertaken on the V-280 prototype.

February 2017 - A prototype V-280 is set to begin ground testing. A first-flight is scheduled for September 2017.

September 2017 - It was announced that the first V-280 prototype was being prepped for ground runs at Bell Helicopter's Amarillo (Texas) plant. First flights will involve the airframe being tethered. A true, untethered first-flight is scheduled for sometime in October 2017.

December 2017 - It was announced by Bell that the V-280 Valor tilt-rotor achieved its first-flight on December 18th, 2017.

May 2018 - The Valor prototype has achieved a top speed of 161 miles per hour with its prop-rotors dropped 60-degrees for forward flight. This occurred on May 11th, 2018.

June 2018 - The V-280 prototype conducted its first public flyby on June 18th at the Bell Amarillo (Texas) location.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (265mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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LON
 
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PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
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  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Bell V-280 Valor's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Origin: United States
Year: 2020
Type: 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator
Manufacturer(s): Bell Helicopter Textron - USA
Production: 1
Status: In-Development
Global Operators:
United States (possible)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Bell V-280 Valor model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
65.62 ft


Meters
20 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
85.30 ft


Meters
26 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
22.97 ft


Meters
7 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
33,069 lb


Kilograms
15,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
57,320 lb


Kilograms
26,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Turboshaft engines with each featuring a tilting three-bladed main rotor unit.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
265 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
426 kph


Knots
230 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,485 mi


Kilometers
4,000 km


Nautical Miles
2,160 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
15,092 ft


Meters
4,600 m


Miles
2.86 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft cannon pod
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
2 x 7.62mm General Purpose or 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun(s) on pintle mounts at fuselage doors.

OPTIONAL (proposed):
4 x Conventional or laser-guided drop bombs in internal fuselage bay.
2 x 7-shot / 19-shot conentional or laser-guided rocket pods OR 2 x Cannon pods at side fuselage hardpoints.
1 x 20mm fixed, forward-firing cannon under nose
Variants: Series Model Variants
• V-280 "Valor" - Base Model Designation