The Bell V-280 Valor is a third-generation tiltrotor aircraft being developed by Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin for the United States Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. Video was recently released where it was shown in a ground test. The V-280 will be twice as fast as an Apache helicopter and have about three to eight times the range.
The V-280 is reported to be designed for a cruising speed of 280 knots (320 mph; 520 km/h), a top speed of 300 knots (350 mph; 560 km/h), a range of 2,100 nautical miles (2,400 mi; 3,900 km), and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nmi (580 to 920 mi; 930 to 1,480 km). Expected maximum takeoff weight is around 30,000 lb. In one major difference from the earlier V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the engines remain in place while the rotors and drive shafts tilt. A driveshaft runs through the straight wing, allowing both prop rotors to be driven by a single engine in the event of engine loss. The V-280 will have retractable landing gear, a triple-redundant fly by wire control system, and a V-tail configuration. The wings are made of a single section of Carbon fiber reinforced polymer composite, reducing weight and production costs. The V-280 will have a crew of 4 and be capable of transporting up to 14 troops. Dual cargo hooks will give it a lift capacity to carry a 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) M777A2 Howitzer while flying at a speed of 150 knots (170 mph; 280 km/h). The fuselage is visually similar to that of the UH-60 Black Hawk medium lift helicopter. Bell expects the V-280 to cost around the same as a AH-64E or MH-60M.
Apache helicopters have the following speed :
Never exceed speed: 197 knots (227 mph, 365 km/h)
Maximum speed: 158 knots (182 mph, 293 km/h)
Cruise speed: 143 knots (165 mph, 265 km/h)
Range: 257 nmi (295 mi, 476 km) with Longbow radar mast
Combat radius: 260 nmi (300 mi, 480 km)
Bell hopes to sell the V-280 to all services, the Army is both the largest potential market and the only service to buy none of Bell’s current tiltrotor, the V-22 Osprey. The V-280 Valor is a smaller, faster, more advanced model designed for the Future Vertical Lift program.
Bell’s rival on FVL is a team of Sikorsky (now part of Lockheed Martin) and Boeing. They’ve joined forces to develop the SB>1 Defiant, a radically different design that combines a conventional-looking coaxial rotor with a pusher propeller.
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