BRAND NEW HELICOPTER for the US Military the Bell V-280 Valor an alternative to the V-22 Osprey
A new helicopter was shown flying for the first time that will be available for the US Military. The Bell V-280 Valor is a tiltrotor aircraft being developed by Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin for the United States Army's Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. The aircraft was officially unveiled at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America's (AAAA) Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas. The V-280 made its first flight on 18 December 2017 in Amarillo, Texas.
The V-280 is reported to be designed for a cruising speed of 280 knots (320 mph; 520 km/h) (hence the name V-280), 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. When landed, the wing is in excess of seven feet from the ground, allowing soldiers to egress easily out of two 6-foot (1.8 m) wide side doors and door gunners to have wide fields of fire. Although the initial design is a utility configuration, Bell is also working on an attack configuration.
Whether different variants of the V-280 would fill utility and attack roles or a single airframe could interchange payloads for either mission, Bell is confident the Valor tiltrotor platform can fulfill both duties; the U.S. Marine Corps is interested in having one aircraft to replace utility and attack helicopters, but the Army, which leads the program, is not committed to the idea and wants distinct platforms for each mission. Bell and Lockheed claim an AV-280 variant can launch rockets, missiles, and even small unmanned aerial vehicles forward or aft with no rotor interference, even in forward flight and cruise modes with the rotors forward.
GE Aviation will manufacture the engines for the V-280, with the prototype (air vehicle concept demonstrator, or AVCD) using the General Electric T64. The specific engine for the model performance specification (MPS) is unknown, but has funding from the Army's future affordable turbine engine (FATE) program. The V-tail structure and ruddervators, made by GKN, will provide high levels of maneuverability and control to the airframe. It will be made of a combination of metals and composites. Features in the interior include seats that wirelessly charge troops’ radios, night-vision goggles, and other electronic gear and windows that display three-dimensional mission maps.
Special emphasis has been placed on reducing the weight of the V-280 in comparison to the V-22, which in turn would reduce cost. To do this, composites are used extensively in the wing, fuselage, and tail. Wing skins and ribs are made of a honeycomb-stiffened "sandwich" construction with large-cell carbon cores for fewer, larger, and lighter parts. Skins and ribs are paste-bonded together to eliminate fasteners. With these measures, costs are reduced by over 30 percent compared to a scaled V-22 wing. Bell expects the V-280 to cost around the same as a AH-64E or MH-60M. While the Osprey has a higher disk loading and lower hover efficiency than a helicopter, the V-280 will have a lower disk loading and longer wing for greater hover and cruise efficiency.