The U.S. military is looking to replace the Black Hawk helicopter, and one of the contenders set to take its place is a monster machine.
Bell Helicopters flew a prototype of the V-280 Valor for the first time last month, bringing the company closer to the creation of a new military aircraft.
The helicopter, which is being designed for agility, speed, range and payload capacity, uses new tilt-rotor technology that allows it to fly farther and faster than conventional helicopters used by the military.
The V-280 also integrates vertical flight innovations that the Army has been looking into, which will shape the design of future helicopter fleets expected to hit the skies sometime around 2030.
The new helicopters are slightly larger than the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. They can carry a crew of four and up to 14 passengers. In comparison, the Black Hawk can hold a crew of four and transport 11 passengers.
The V-280 is also faster than the Black Hawk. It will fly at 322 miles per hour, which makes it almost twice as fast as its predecessor.
Take a look at a portion of a flight.
Bell Helicopter’s president and CEO Mitch Snyder said he was proud of the progress being made.
“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,” Snyder said in a statement, as reported by Military.com.
Snyder said that first flight demonstrated the company’s commitment to supporting the 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,” he said.
Bell Helicopters is competing with the Boeing-Sikorsky SB>1 Defiant to serve as a replacement to the outdated Black Hawk.
Take a look at the SB>1 Defiant concept:
Helicopters are the linchpin of any modern army, and either one of these designs will be an improvement that will lead our military into the next century.
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