After three years, Bell V-280 Valor achieves 200 flights from testing the advanced vertical lift systems unit. This next generation is derived from the Osprey but with improvements.

Bell V-280 Valor, tilt-rotor craft

This one of the technology demonstrators designed to illustrate to the US Army what it can do in the Future Vertical Lift capability with the time it has been flown from three years back, said Keith Flail, the company's executive vice president advanced vertical lift systems, reported Defense News.

On December 18, 2017, at 1:59 p.m., the Valor tiltrotor flew for its first flight in CDT at a Bell facility in Amarillo, Texas. Reporters noted that the aircraft was only airborne for about 15 to 20 minutes before it landed again.

According to Flail, Bell's clean-sheet-designed aircraft has performed more than 150 sorties since then, and also that the extensive effort has reduced risk for the US Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program (FLRAA). He added the Tiltrotor hit 200 flight hours on December 4, remarked Army Mil.

The Army wants an FLRAA candidate that is a helicopter or new technology that can zoom past the speed of convention rotorcraft like the UH-60 or AH-64 and rush at faster speeds for air cavalry missions by 2030.

Bell versus Sikorsky

Bell aerospace will be at butting heads with its Bell V-280 Valor against Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky and Boeing team, which has been flying their competing offering for the Army's FLRAA, cited Bell Flight. Their SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter hit the air in March 2019, with much difficulty resolving the problem with the rotor blades. But, they got around the technical challenges to produce the SB-1.

Read also: Futuristic 'Defiant X' Flies to Be the Next Generation Long-Range Assault Helicopter of the US Army

The two aerospace companies have been awarded a competitive development and risk reduction phase ahead of the FLRAA program, which will begin in March 2020. The Army announced earlier in the month that it intends to enter a competition for the manufacture of FLRAA only with Sikorsky-Boeing and Bell.

Valor is going through its paces to demonstrate the specific performance parameters and prove the possible threshold and objective requirements for FLRAA.

First seen by the public on its first public flight in June 2018, it was able to get 195 knots and demoed aspects of hovering to the live audience. This was one of the critical tests it had to achieve and sustain while in flight.

It was able to fly autonomously recently; the Tiltrotor did an autonomous takeoff, conversion into cruise mode, and went to waypoints on its own. Other things it did were loiter maneuvers, transformation into a vertical-takeoff-and-landing mode, and landed autonomously.

In 2019, the company demonstrated an integrated solution from Lockheed Martin that offers pilots and aircrew a glimpse through the aircraft's skin.

The Bell team in early 2020 had incorporated a Tactical Common Data Link and transmitted information between Valor, which sent data to a ground station that sent relevant data as to what the aircraft was doing. Capable of sending targeting data to help long-range precision fires weapons hit targets accurately, in December 17 statement.

Other aspects like sling load were tested on the Bell V-280 Valor that required teamwork from all involved in its operation. Flail added its shaping up to be a reliable system competing for FLRAA.

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