Tag Archives: Bell Textron Inc.

HSVTOL concepts

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, on February 16, 2022 announced its advancement to the next phase of the AFWERX High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge, a crowdsourcing effort for the United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Bell is one of 11 companies from more than 200 challenge entrants selected to receive market research investments aimed at advancing solutions that enable optimal agility in austere environments.

HSVTOL
Bell Receives Market Research Investment to Advance U.S. DoD High-Speed VTOL Capabilities

«Bell is thrilled that our HSVTOL concepts have been selected for the next phase of the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX Challenge», said Jason Hurst, Bell’s vice president of Innovation. «In entering this next phase, Bell’s teams will continue to lay the groundwork for the production of another revolutionary military aircraft and provide USSOCOM and the U.S. Air Force with conceptual designs and development roadmaps to accelerate this capability to the warfighter».

Bell’s HSVTOL vehicles blend the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed, range and survivability features of fighter aircraft. This family of scalable aircraft concepts is designed to support a range of missions, including personnel recovery, autonomous Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Strike, and tactical mobility, with low downwash hover capability and jet-like speeds of more than 400 knots/460 mph/741 km/h.

Bell’s concepts are envisioned as part of a broader HSVTOL mission system framework that provides the next generation of speed, range, and survivability. These concepts provide the flexibility to carry out USAF and USSOCOM missions across the full spectrum of conflict and political scenarios. It emerged as a top-tier entrant in the HSVTOL Concept Challenge by meeting or exceeding rigorous evaluation criteria focused on technical merit, reliability, scalability, and other factors.

«The HSVTOL Concept Challenge has surfaced an impressive range and caliber of solutions to help us understand how to build a new class of air vehicles», said Doctor Reid Melville, chief innovation officer, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Transformational Capabilities Office. «We believe the organizations selected to receive market research investments at this stage have the potential to deliver truly groundbreaking innovation».

Over the next six months, Bell will further develop its HSVTOL solution, working closely with the USAF, USSOCOM, and Collaboration.Ai, the prime contractor facilitating the HSVTOL Concept Challenge.

First Bahrain Viper

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, celebrated the completion of the first AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter for the Kingdom of Bahrain on September 30. Bell delivered the first of 12 production aircraft to Naval Air Systems Command as part of the 2019 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract. Foreign military sales of the AH-1Z Viper bring the advanced, dedicated capabilities of the aircraft directly to international operators and help increase interoperability and amplify effectiveness of allied forces. The helicopter will be prepared for shipment to Bahrain with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) before being transported to Bahrain in 2022.

AH-1Z Viper
Bell Completes First Bahrain AH-1Z Viper

«This is an extraordinary achievement by the H-1 Program and brings the Royal Bahraini Air Force a step closer to fielding the advanced capabilities of the AH-1Z Viper », said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. «The men and women of Team Viper, a group of premier suppliers, have done an exceptional job of delivering to the U.S. Government, on time and on contract».

Bell designed the AH-1Z Viper specifically to meet the stringent operational requirements of the U.S. Marine Corps, which focus on full marinization and a reduced logistical footprint. The aircraft has a fully integrated glass cockpit and the ability to carry a wide variety of munitions.

The composite rotor system further enhances the Viper’s ability to provide close air support to ground forces in any environment, while the fully integrated Target Sight System (TSS) enhances pilots’ capabilities to identify clearly, acquire, track and engage targets beyond maximum weapon range.

«The Viper will provide significant benefits to the Bahrain Defence Force as they modernize their fleet of attack helicopters», said Deslatte. «Having a proven state-of-the-art platform will help contribute to the security of Bahrain while improving interoperability with U.S. forces».

Bell continues to work to deliver aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, Bahrain and Czech Republic. The company also keeps the H-1 up to date with planned capability improvements designed to ensure the Viper maintains its strategic technological edge throughout its service life.

100th AH-1Z Viper

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has successfully completed its 100th consecutive on-time delivery of the AH-1Z Viper aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, which began nearly four years ago. Bell accomplished this milestone through tight coordination with its manufacturing and assembly facilities, UAW 218, numerous suppliers, and government partners. The H-1 series consists of the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, which provide light attack and utility helicopter support to the Marines while maintaining a small logistical footprint through the 85% commonality between the airframes.

AH-1Z Viper
Bell Completes 100th Consecutive On-Time Delivery of AH-1Z to U.S. Marines

«Performance like this takes a lot of work, communication, and trust to ensure alignment between numerous partners, all working toward the same objective. I could not be more proud of our Bell employees», said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. «Our front line workers, engineers, and supply chain professionals all help support the Marines. Their work designing, manufacturing, and assembling critical components while ensuring quality parts reach the production line on time help the Marines ensure our nation’s security».

Bell and its Team Viper/Venom partners collaborate with the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276) to provide integrated solutions and increase combat lethality and readiness. In addition to delivering production aircraft on time, Bell directly supports scheduled maintenance. The company is also working on new capability upgrades to equip the Marines with the most advanced technology available.

«This is a feat only possible through the determination of our production team and the program’s strong relationship with our industry partners and suppliers», said Colonel Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager.

Bell is currently working toward the U.S. Marine Corps program of record (POR) and anticipates production of Marine Corps H-1 through 2022. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 production contract is for 349 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper. Bell will continue manufacturing aircraft for foreign military customers including contracts for Bahrain AH-1Zs and a mixed Czech Republic fleet of both AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys.

FARA Prototype

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has released new data on the build and testing for the Bell 360 Invictus competitive prototype. The Bell 360 program is rapidly progressing through manufacturing, assembly, components testing, and systems integration work for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. The team has completed multiple design and risk reviews with the Army and is on schedule for all program requirements. The Bell 360, a low-risk, high-speed platform with proven technology and inherently reliable designs, will deliver soldiers transformational operational capabilities at an affordable cost.

Bell 360 Invictus
Bell and Team Invictus are combining industry-leading technology with digital processes to improve manufacturing, testing, and integration schedules to deliver a high-performance attack and reconnaissance aircraft

«This team is achieving great results responding to requirements, reducing programmatic risk, and delivering state-of-the-art capabilities for the Army», said Chris Gehler, vice president and program director for the Bell 360 Invictus. «We are combining Bell’s unique knowledge of the demands placed on scout aircraft with engineering and technical expertise to give the Army a weapon system to dominate attack reconnaissance missions for decades to come».

Since beginning the build in late 2020, Bell has made significant progress on the Bell 360 Invictus fuselage, main rotor blades, gearbox assembly, cases, and other high-value components. By implementing a design-as-built methodology that digitally connects the entire program throughout its lifecycle, Bell has increased its ability to collaborate in real-time with program partners and the Army. This method accelerates decision-making among distributed teams using a common, secure data environment that creates a singular source of data for the program leading to reduced assembly, rework time and cost.

Along with assembling the Bell 360 Invictus, high-value components such as the main rotor gearbox, driveshafts and couplings are being tested at Bell’s Drive Systems Test Lab (DSTL). The DSTL is used to carry out risk-reduction efforts that ensure the program has accurate and verified data to qualify components in advance of flight test.

A new FARA-specific Systems Integration Lab (SIL) is also operational at Bell. This facility allows Bell to integrate flight-critical components, software, and mission systems for testing, verification, and validation of functionality before they take flight on an actual aircraft. This approach reduces technical risk and aids in the safe, rapid, and efficient execution of flight test program.

«The Bell 360 Invictus is an exciting aircraft that brings sophisticated digital systems together in a high-speed, reliable, maintainable vehicle for austere environments around the world», said Jayme Gonzalez, program manager, Bell 360 Invictus. «The Bell 360 offers the Army the ability to modernize using simplified and inherently reliable designs to reduce costs and deliver enhanced effectiveness for the Army».

Design Concepts

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, announced on August 2, 2021 the unveiling of design concepts for new aircraft systems for military applications which would use Bell’s High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (HSVTOL) technology as the company continues its innovation of next generation vertical lift aircraft. HSVTOL technology blends the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed, range and survivability features of a fighter aircraft.

HSVTOL
Bell Unveils New High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing Design Concepts for Military Application

«Bell’s HSVTOL technology is a step change improvement in rotorcraft capabilities», said Jason Hurst, vice president, Innovation. «Our technology investments have reduced risk and prepared us for rapid development of HSVTOL in a digital engineering environment, leveraging experience from a robust past of technology exploration and close partnerships with the Department of Defense and Research Laboratories».

Bell’s HSVTOL design concepts include the following features:

  • Low downwash hover capability;
  • Jet-like cruise speeds over 400 kts/460 mph/741 km/h;
  • True runway independence and hover endurance;
  • Scalability to the range of missions from unmanned personnel recovery to tactical mobility;
  • Aircraft gross weights range from 4,000 lbs./1,814 kg to over 100,000 lbs./45,359 kg

Bell’s HSVTOL capability is critical to future mission needs offering a range of aircraft systems with enhanced runway independence, aircraft survivability, mission flexibility and enhanced performance over legacy platforms. With the convergence of tiltrotor aircraft capabilities, digital flight control advancements and emerging propulsion technologies, Bell is primed to evolve HSVTOL technology for modern military missions to serve the next generation of warfighters.

Bell has explored high-speed vertical lift aircraft technology for more than 85 years, pioneering innovative VTOL configurations like the X-14, X-22, XV-3 and XV-15 for NASA, the U.S Army and U.S. Air Force. The lessons learned from the XV-3 and XV-15 supported the development of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, an invaluable platform that changed the way the U.S. military conducts amphibious assault, long range infiltration and exfiltration and resupply with a cruise speed and range twice that of helicopters it replaced.

Restart of the UH-1Y

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has restarted UH-1Y Venom helicopter production for the first international operator. Crestview Aerospace has completed manufacturing the first of eight cabins at the Crestview Florida facility. The aircraft will complete final assembly at the Bell Amarillo Assembly Center. The helicopters are part of the 2020 U.S. Department of Defense contract awarded to Bell for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Y and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters for the government of the Czech Republic.

UH-1Y Venom
Bell Begins Manufacturing UH-1Y Venom For First International Operator

«Crestview Aerospace is honored and grateful for the opportunity to team with Bell on the continued production of the UH-1Y Venom cabin for the first international customer», said Paul Kohlmeier, senior vice president, Strategy and Business Development, Crestview Aerospace. «Crestview continues to build in the same high quality and reliability into the international Venom helicopters that underpin the aircraft currently operated by the United States Marine Corps around the world».

Bell delivered the final UH-1Y Venom for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) program of record in April 2018 and has continued to produce and deliver the AH-1Z Viper as part of the H-1 production contract for 349 H-1 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper.

The UH-1Y Venom shares 85 percent commonality of parts with the AH-1Z Viper. The commonality between the aircraft enabled critical component supply chains to remain active during AH-1Z Viper production for the USMC.

«Time, logistics, and man-hours are all strategic resources», said Mike Deslatte, vice president and H-1 program director, Bell. «Commonality helps ensure everything between the Viper and Venom, from manufacturing, maintenance, and upgrades, remains seamless while simultaneously providing lower program and life cycle costs. It’s a real tactical advantage on multiple levels».

The UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper share the same engines, integrated mission system and dynamic components, such as the four-bladed rotor system. Both aircraft are specifically designed and produced for expeditionary operations. Together, they provide a full spectrum of military operations, unlike any other helicopter duo.

Bell anticipates USMC production through early 2022, followed by continued production for foreign military customers. Bell has two signed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases in production, Bahrain and the Czech Republic.

The second phase

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company and the U.S. Army have agreed to terms on the execution of the second phase of the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) contract that was awarded in March 2020 for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. This new contract is an important milestone and testament to the continued momentum for Army modernization. Bell’s flight-proven V-280 Valor design advances from an aircraft with transformational speed and survivability towards a low-risk weapons system ready to support joint combined arms and maneuver operations around the world.

Bell V-280 Valor
Bell is executing the second phase of a Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction contract to inform the imminent program of record competition for U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA)

«This is the next step to a program of record and Bell is proud to closely collaborate with the Army to transition our flight-proven V-280 Valor into a highly-capable and sustainable FLRAA weapons system», said Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «Bell and our Team Valor teammates continue to optimize our platform based on research, design, and thorough flight-testing of the aircraft to deliver an outstanding capability for the Army».

During phase one of the CD&RR, Bell provided detailed iterations on the V-280 design, data to highlight the feasibility of executing the program of record requirements, and executed trade studies using model-based systems engineering. This work will continue under phase two as the Army finalizes requirements for the program of record planned for 2022.

Bell has already safely delivered groundbreaking performance and successfully completed a rapid design, build, and test program with the V-280. Since its first flight in 2017, the V-280 team has executed a rigorous flight test program flying more than 200 hours through over 160 individual test flights that delivered critical data to validate Bell’s digital models and performance.

As the FLRAA competition moves to a program of record, Bell continues to take a holistic approach to transition the V-280 to a weapons system that ensures exceptional performance and is affordable throughout the lifecycle. From the outset, the Bell V-280 Valor was designed for efficiency – using simplified and inherently reliable designs, adhering to Army Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) requirements, reducing maintenance costs, and increasing reliability. Bell applied digital design and manufacturing technologies, included maintenance as part of the design process, and used emerging commercial processes to bring a comprehensive view of digital models, processing, and analysis. This methodology has reduced programmatic risk, improved lifecycle maintenance and servicing outcomes, increasing program affordability.

«This aircraft is not an engineering science project. The V-280 tiltrotor provides a critical and combat-proven capability needed to maintain our U.S. military’s ability to deter adversaries by radically improving over the current fleet’s speed, range, versatility, and sustainability. Our program has provided evidence that the V-280 is a transformational long-range assault aircraft solution for the Army and we are proud to move forward as a team to continue to mature the weapons system», said Ryan Ehinger, vice president and program director, FLRAA at Bell.

Over an 8-day period recently the Bell V-280 Valor team completed 5 hours of flight over 4 sorties; nearing 180 total flight hours and over 330 total operating hours

For Special Operations

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, and Boeing delivered the first CMV-22B Osprey for fleet operations to the U.S. Navy on June 22. The V-22 is based at Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

The first CMV-22B Osprey assigned to Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 landed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego on June 22 (U.S. Navy photo)

«This first fleet delivery marks a new chapter of the V-22 Tiltrotor program providing enhanced capabilities and increased flexibility to the U.S. Navy as they conduct important operational missions around the globe», said Shane Openshaw, Boeing vice president of Tiltrotor Programs and deputy director of the Bell Boeing team.

This aircraft is the third overall delivery to the U.S. Navy. Bell Boeing delivered the first CMV-22B Osprey at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in February for developmental testing, followed by a second in May. The U.S. Navy variant V-22 will take over the Carrier Onboard Delivery Mission, replacing the C-2A Greyhound.

«We are thrilled to bring the Osprey’s capabilities as a warfighting enabler and its ability to provide time sensitive logistics to the men and women deployed around the world in support of U.S. Navy operations», said Kurt Fuller, Bell V-22 vice president and Bell Boeing program director.

The CMV-22B Osprey and C-2A Greyhound conducted a symbolic passing of the torch flight in April.

«The CMV-22 will be a game-changing enabler to the high end fight supporting the sustainment of combat lethality to the carrier strike group», said U.S. Navy Captain Dewon Chaney, Commodore, Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing. «The multi-mission capabilities of the CMV-22, already recognized, will be realized in Naval Aviation’s Air Wing of the future. The arrival of this aircraft is the first of many steps to that becoming reality».

The CMV-22B Osprey carries up to 6,000 pounds/2,722 kg of cargo and combines the Vertical TakeOff, hover and Landing (VTOL) qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft.

Bell Boeing designed the Navy variant to have the expanded range needed for fleet operations. Two additional 60-gallon tanks and redesigned forward sponson tanks can cover more than 1,150 nautical miles. The CMV-22B Osprey also has the unique ability to provide roll-on/roll-off delivery of the F135 engine power module, enhancing the U.S. Navy’s readiness.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces
Contractor Bell-Boeing
Date Deployed 2009
Propulsion Two Rolls-Royce Liberty AE1107C engines, each deliver 6,200 shaft horsepower/4,560 kW
Rotor Diameter 38 feet/11.58 meters; Blades per rotor: Three
Length 63 feet/19.2 meters
Height 22 feet/6.7 meters, 1 inch/2.54 centimeters with nacelles vertical
Wingspan 84.6 feet/25.79 meters with rotors turning
Maximum gross, Vertical Take-Off 52,600 lbs./23,859 kg
Maximum gross, Short Take-Off 57,000 lbs./ 25,855 kg
Airspeed Cruise: 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h
Ceiling 25,000 feet/7,620 meters
Range 2,100 NM/2,417 miles/3,889 km with internal auxiliary fuel tanks
Crew 4 – pilot, copilot, flight engineer, crew chief; 24 troops

 

400th Osprey

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, and Boeing have delivered the 400th V-22 Osprey to the United States Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations command received the CV-22 Osprey on June 2, marking a milestone for the world’s first production tiltrotor aircraft.

Bell Boeing deliver 400th V-22 Osprey

«The delivery of the 400th V-22 Osprey represents the demand for this platform’s unique capabilities. It is a testament to the diligence of the men and women from Bell, Boeing and our entire supply chain who build and deliver this incredible aircraft to our customers», said Kurt Fuller, Bell V-22 Osprey vice president and Bell Boeing program director. «For over 30 years, the people who support the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey have been the foundation in bringing tiltrotor capabilities to the world».

The CV-22 Osprey is the Special Operations Forces (SOF) variant of the V-22 Osprey. The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its primary mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for Air Commandos around the world and at a moment’s notice.

«It’s been over 20 years since the first production V-22 Osprey was delivered, and we are proud to reach another milestone in our 400th delivery. V-22s continue to be in high demand, protecting our country and our allies around the world through combat operations, international training partnerships and humanitarian missions», said Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Osprey Joint Program Office (PMA-275). «This platform’s impact can’t be overstated».

The V-22 Osprey’s combination of speed, range, payload and vertical lift are ideally suited to the diverse environments, geographies and mission-types performed by operators around the world. The Marine Corps variant, the MV-22B Osprey, provides the safe and reliable transportation of personnel, supplies and equipment for combat assault, assault support and fleet logistics. Since 2007, it has been continuously forward-deployed in a range of combat, humanitarian and special operations. The Navy variant, the CMV-22B Osprey, is the replacement for the C-2A Greyhound for the carrier onboard delivery mission.

Ospreys continue to transform airpower capabilities by enabling the successful completion of missions not possible with conventional aircraft. The V-22 Osprey production line is currently on its third multi-year procurement contract.

Assault Aircraft

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has been selected as a project agreement holder for the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) effort as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. Under the agreement Bell will deliver a refined V-280 Valor design, with supporting technical documentation, that builds on the data captured during the more than two years and 170 hours of flight testing under the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) program to inform the FLRAA program of record.

U.S. Army awards Bell a contract for competitive demonstration and risk reduction work on a program engineered to deliver exceptional operational capabilities to warfighters at a sustainable cost

«Bell and Team Valor are excited to continue working on a system that has proven its ability to bring exceptional capabilities to warfighters», said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO at Bell. «The JMR TD and V-280 show that rapid maturation of new technology is possible with a solid government-industry partnership fueled by our talented and innovative workforce. We look forward to the FLRAA competition».

This contract follows the successful U.S. Army led JMR TD program. As part of that program, Bell managed collaboration with the twelve leading companies that make up Team Valor to enable rapid production, systems integration, and deliberate program schedule to validate the V-280’s flight capabilities and operational relevance. The V-280 achieved all program goals, demonstrating its speed by flying above 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h and demonstrating low speed agility attitude quickness per ADS-33F-PRF. These characteristics are important to inform FLRAA program requirements to ensure the program will help warfighters meet the challenges of future multi-domain fights.

«This is an important milestone in the history of Bell and Army aviation. We are honored to be part of it», said Keith Flail, vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «The next phase is an opportunity for this team to build on the success of the last six years and continue to bring the proof that we can provide transformative capabilities to our Army in line with their stated goal of 2030».

The V-280 Valor was developed in support of the government Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program, the Army’s number three modernization priority area. The FLRAA program is meant to produce a medium-lift utility rotorcraft replacement with transformational speed, power, and maneuverability, at a sustainable cost, to active duty and reserve aviation units.