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Bell V-280 Valor

3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator

Bell V-280 Valor

3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor demonstrator will be marketed to the U.S. Army for its Future Vertical Lift program.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 2020
STATUS: In-Development
MANUFACTURER(S): Bell Helicopter Textron - USA
PRODUCTION: 1
OPERATORS: United States (possible)
SPECIFICATIONS



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.
CREW: 2
LENGTH: 65.62 feet (20 meters)
WIDTH: 85.30 feet (26 meters)
HEIGHT: 22.97 feet (7 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 33,069 pounds (15,000 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 57,320 pounds (26,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Turboshaft engines each featuring tilting three-bladed main rotor units.
SPEED (MAX): 265 miles-per-hour (426 kilometers-per-hour; 230 knots)
RANGE: 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers; 2,160 nautical miles)
CEILING: 15,092 feet (4,600 meters; 2.86 miles)




ARMAMENT



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


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Bell V-280 Valor 3rd Generation Tiltrotor Technology Demonstrator.  Entry last updated on 10/29/2018. 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.




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.

August 2018 - The V-280 prototype has completed 45 hours of flying time to date. It is currently being tested with wheels up and its engine nacelles in full-horizontal mode and recording speeds in the 225 mile-per-hour range, mimicking its more standard operating form.

October 2018 - The Valor program continues to progress - and impress. The demonstrator has clocked a speed of 287.7 mph (322.2mph being the target goal) and has been recorded with a rate-of-climb of 4,500 feet-per-minute while also reaching out to 360 miles. The demonstrator has flown 70 hours in all with work having since been moved from Amarillo, Texas to Arlington (TX) - to which the vehicle made the flight unassisted.
MEDIA







General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
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Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating (BETA)
82
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
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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Graph showcases the Bell V-280 Valor's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
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.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
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
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 pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.