The Bell V-247 Vigilant is being proposed by Bell helicopter for a USMC onboard Unmanned Aerial System requirement.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from official Bell Helicopter press release.
The Bell V-247 "Vigilant", an in-development "tiltrotor" Unammned Aerial System (UAS) concept, was unveiled by Bell Helicopter in September 2016. Its design is intended to satisfy the future vision of United States Marine Corps (USMC) aerial capabilities. As a tiltrotor, the product will incorporated the straightline performance of a fixed-wing aircraft with the vertical take-off and landing capabilities of a helicopter - owing much to Bell's experience with the V-22 tiltrotor product. Such platforms can be used in a myriad of battlefield roles - maritime reconnaissance, offshore resupply of ships, resupply of Forward Operating Bases, target acquisition/tracking, general surveillance and the like.
If the Vigilant program proceeds as intended, serial production is set to begin in 2023.
Helicopters outdo their fixed-wing counterparts by their inherent ability to land on unprepared surfaces, not requiring long distances of runway. This allows them to station on warships or mountain sides and serve in direct contact with forward-operating elements such as infantry. The lack of a pilot and crew means no loss-of-life when operating in hostile, contested areas. A built-in long-endurance quality provides for long operational ranges and increased loitering times - factors typically limiting fuel-thirsty, fast-moving fixed-wing aircraft.
The V-247 is set to be powered by a single propulsion scheme driving the pair of three-bladed, 30-foot diameter rotor units. The rotor units sit along a single high-mounted 65-foot span wing over the fuselage and tilt to push air downwards (for horizontal flight) or forwards (for conventional flying) . Combat range is estimated at 4560 nautical miles (radius) with a time-on-station of eleven hours. Listed weights are 16,000lb empty and 29,500 maximum gross. The payload maximum is 13,000lb and this will consist of variable mission equipment including armament options like the Hellfire missile, JAGMs and the Mk-50 Torpedo held in an internal bay. A modular quality will be built into the payload system to quickly refit the vehicle for a new mission scope. The finalized Vigilant will be suitably-sized for air-transportation in the belly of a USAF C-17 transport aircraft and for service on the flight decks of the current line of DDG-type destroyers of the United States Navy.
[ 0 Units ] : Bell Helicopter - USA
United States (possible)
- Ground Attack
- Close-Air Support (CAS)
- Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
- Navy / Maritime
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- X-Plane / Developmental
64.96 ft (19.8 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Bell V-247 Vigilant production model)
16,006 lb (7,260 kg)
29,983 lb (13,600 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Bell V-247 Vigilant production model)
1 x Single unit propulsion system driving power to 2 x 30-foot diameter tiltrotors on wing mainplane.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Bell V-247 Vigilant production model)
345 mph (555 kph; 300 kts)
1,025 miles (1,650 km; 891 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Bell V-247 Vigilant production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None. Mainly ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) payload up to 600lb. Proposed support for Mk-50 series torpedo, Hellfire Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) and new-generation Joint Air-to-ground Missiles (JAGMs) in internal bay.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Bell V-247 Vigilant production model)
V-247 "Vigilant" - Proposed series designation and name.
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