Tag Archives: Textron Inc.

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.

Reconnaissance Vehicle

Textron Systems Corporation, a Textron Inc. company, on July 19, 2021 announced that it has been pre-awarded the United States Marine Corps Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) prototype agreement for its purpose-built Cottonmouth vehicle. Through the 22-month period of performance, Textron Systems will produce a Cottonmouth vehicle for the Marine Corps that will go through rigorous testing and evaluation. The data gained from the ARV competitive prototyping efforts will be used to inform a USMC decision point in fiscal year 2023.

Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV)
Textron Systems selected for U.S. Marine Corps Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle pre-award

Built from a clean-sheet design, Cottonmouth is a 6×6 wheeled amphibious reconnaissance vehicle designed to operate within the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) construct. Designed to swim in the open ocean and navigate through surf zones, this vehicle possesses the advanced maneuverability critical to enhanced reconnaissance operations.

As a next-generation naval sensor node, Cottonmouth has the ability to strengthen communication to operate and employ a mix of reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and command, control, communications networking, and computing (C4) systems. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, such as teammate Elbit Systems of America’s IronVision, a «see-through» technology that provides advance visibility and 3600 situational awareness, this vehicle allows the Marine Corps to see beyond line of sight.

«Built from the ground up in less than nine months, the Cottonmouth is a low-risk, mission-oriented solution backed with over 750 miles of data using scenarios representative to the Marine Corps’ mission profile and requirements», said Senior Vice President David Phillips of Textron Systems. «The Cottonmouth is a testament to Textron Systems’ commitment to the Marine Corps’ vision and needs. We are proud to support the service in this next phase of the competition and look forward to working together».

Textron Systems responded to the requirement released by the Government through the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) and the prototype award will be executed under their Ground Vehicle Systems (GVS) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA). Textron Systems expects to begin these activities in fall 2021, with the prototype delivery expected in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023. Per the requirement, a six-month government evaluation period will follow.

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.

Invictus

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has announced a new rotorcraft, Bell 360 Invictus, as the company’s entrant for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program. Bell’s innovative approach to designing the Bell 360 Invictus combines proven low-risk technologies with advanced processes to deliver soldiers an affordable, agile and lethal solution to win on the modern battlefield. The Bell 360 Invictus meets or exceeds all requirements as laid out under the FARA contract.

Next-generation rotorcraft is designed to provide attack, reconnaissance, and intelligence to shape the tactical environment and deliver operational overmatch in highly complex multi-domain operations

«The Bell 360 will deliver advanced battlefield situational awareness, as well as lethal options, in support of the maneuver force at an affordable cost», said Vince Tobin, executive vice president of Military Business at Bell. «The multi-domain fight will be complex, and our team is delivering a highly capable, low-risk solution to confidently meet operational requirements with a sustainable fleet».

The Bell 360 Invictus’ design emphasizes exceptional performance using proven technologies to fulfill the Army’s FARA requirements at an affordable cost and on schedule. One example is the Invictus’ rotor system. This design is based on Bell’s 525 Relentless rotor system which has been tested and proven at speeds in excess of 200 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS)/230 mph/370 km/h. By incorporating proven designs and the best available technologies from commercial and military programs, Bell delivers a low-risk path to a FARA program of record.

This advanced aircraft will have a transformative impact through next-generation flight performance, increased safety and greater operational readiness – all to deliver decisive capabilities.

Some of the key 360 Invictus features include:

  • Lift-sharing wing to reduce rotor lift demand in forward flight, enabling high-speed maneuverability
  • Supplemental Power Unit increases performance during high power demands
  • Robust articulated main rotor with high flapping capability enabling high speed flight
  • Fly-by-wire flight control system – synthesizes technologies, reduces pilot workload and provides a path to autonomous flight
  • Speed: >185 KTAS/213 mph/343 km/h
  • Combat radius: 135 NM/155 miles/250 km with >90 minutes of time on station
  • Achieves 4k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE)
  • Armed with a 20-mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher with ability to integrate air-launched effects, and future weapons, as well as current inventory of munitions
  • Provisioned for enhanced situational awareness and sensor technologies
  • Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) enabled by a Digital Backbone from Collins Aerospace
  • Robust design integrating lifecycle supportability processes early to ensure high Operational Tempo (OPTEMPO) availability in multi-domain operations
  • Design-as-built manufacturing model and digital thread enabled tools to enhance affordability, reliability, and training throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft

«Bell is committed to providing the U.S. Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, least complex, and lowest risk solution among the potential FARA configurations, while meeting all requirements», said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «360 Invictus is an exciting opportunity for us to continue our support of Army modernization. This is the next solution to ensure soldiers have the best equipment available for the multi-domain fight».

Bell has decades of experience providing attack and reconnaissance aircraft to the warfighter, such as the Kiowa Warrior which delivered high reliability and availability through more than 850,000 flight hours. The Bell 360 Invictus design builds from that legacy, Bell’s commercial innovations, and from the success in the development and manufacturing capabilities required for Future Vertical Lift (FVL) as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) over the past six years.

Jamaica Defence

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced on August 14, 2018 the delivery of two Bell 429s to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). A third Bell 429 is scheduled for delivery to the JDF next year. The three aircraft will be used to complete a range of missions including, search and rescue, medical evacuations, natural disaster relief, national security and military training.

Bell Announces Delivery of Bell 429S to Jamaica Defence Force
Bell Announces Delivery of Bell 429S to Jamaica Defence Force

The JDF began its helicopter operations in 1963 with two Bell 47Gs. Its active fleet includes four Bell 407s, two Bell 412s and two Bell 206s.

«Over the years, our mission has evolved resulting in the need to acquire the Bell 429 to more effectively meet the demands of our mission profiles and further prove our rotary wing capability», said Colonel Roderick Williams, the JDF’s Colonel Adjutant Quartermaster and a former Commanding Officer of the JDF Air Wing. «The Bell 429 offers excellent performance and advanced avionics with outstanding maintainability and aircraft readiness for multi-mission operations».

Designed with the future in mind, the Bell 429 meets or exceeds today’s airworthiness requirements to enhance occupant safety, with the adaptability to remain at the forefront as mission requirements evolve. Advanced capabilities of the 429 include Single-Pilot Instrument Flight Rules (SPIFR), Category A operations and an integrated avionics glass cockpit. The use of metallic and composite parts in its construction creates balance between rigidity and flexibility, safety and durability.

First Flight

On December 18, 2017, Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced that its V-280 Valor has achieved first flight. The V-280 Valor is a next-generation tiltrotor that is designed to provide unmatched agility, speed, range and payload capabilities at an affordable cost. This milestone represents exceptional progress on the V-280 development program and brings Bell Helicopter one step closer to creating the next generation of vertical lift aircraft for the U.S. military.

Bell V-280 Valor Achieves First Flight
Bell V-280 Valor Achieves First Flight

«This is an exciting time for Bell Helicopter, and I could not be more proud of the progress we have made with first flight of the Bell V-280», says Mitch Snyder, President & CEO for Bell Helicopter. «First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernization priorities and acquisition reform initiatives. The Valor is designed to revolutionize vertical lift for the U.S. Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake».

«We are thrilled to share in this success of the V-280 first flight with Team Valor», added Snyder. «The V-280 intends to completely transform what is possible for the military when it comes to battle planning and forward operations».

The Bell V-280 Valor program is part of the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) initiative. The JMR-TD program is the science and technology precursor to the Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift program. The V-280 program brings together the engineering resources and industrial capabilities of Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, General Electric (GE), Moog, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), TRU Simulation & Training, Astronics, Eaton, GKN Aerospace, Lord, Meggitt and Spirit AeroSystems – collectively referred to as Team Valor.

The Bell V-280 Valor is postured to provide the U.S. Army with the highest levels of maturity and technical readiness. The aircraft is designed to provide the best value in procurement, operations and support, and force structure, while delivering desired leap-ahead performance capabilities with increased maintainability, reliability and affordability to the Department of Defense (DoD). With twice the speed and range of conventional helicopters, the Valor is designed to offer maneuver commanders unmatched operational agility to self-deploy and perform a multitude of vertical lift missions currently unachievable in one aircraft. The Bell V-280 is a combat force multiplier with superior performance, payload, survivability, and reliability to give the warfighter the decisive advantage.

 

Operational Viability:

  • Reduced downwash to facilitate fast rope and hoist ops;
  • Landing Zone = UH-60/UH-1Y comparable;
  • 12˚ slope landings;
  • Enhanced situational awareness & sensing in cockpit/cabin;
  • More medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) options during the golden hour;
  • Pilotage Distributed Aperture Sensor (Degraded Visual Environment enabler);
  • Scalability;
  • Fixed engines maximize cabin ingress/egress clearance.

 

Affordability:

  • 2 × productivity at comparable cost of AH-64E/Spec Ops UH-60;
  • Reduced complexity & cost;
  • Increased performance & manufacturability;
  • Unprecedented variant commonality;
  • Reliable, Line-Replaceable Unit (LRU) based, field maintainable aircraft;
  • Reduced sustainment costs.

 

Specifications

SPEEDS
Speed 280 Knots True AirSpeed (KTAS)/322 mph/518 km/h
RANGE
Combat Range 500-800 NM/575-921 miles/926-1,481 km
Strategically Self-Deployable 2,100+ NM/2,417 miles/3,889 km Range
CAPACITIES
Troop Capacity Crew of 4 and 14 troops
Useful Load 12,000+ lbs/5,443+ kg
Sling load 10,500 lbs/4,763 kg
ADDITIONAL FEATURES
Situational Awareness Enhanced situational awareness and sensing technologies
Flight Control System Triple redundant fly-by-wire
Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) Achieves 6k/95F
Ingress/Egress Two 6′ wide large side doors for ease of rapid ingress/egress
Landing Gear Conventional, retractable landing gear

 

Bell Helicopter announced that its V-280 Valor has achieved first flight