Image courtesy of Bell Helicopter
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Bell Helicopter received the first completed fuselage for its V-280 tilt-rotor design from Spirit AeroSystems and emphasized the importance of speed in providing future vertical-lift technology for tomorrow's military. Spirit AeroSystems manufactured the composite fuselage in 22 months, roughly one month ahead of schedule. During a ceremony at Spirit's facility, Bell CEO John Garrison said, "We need to demonstrate that the industry ... can bring capabilities quickly to the warfighter, and that's what this is all about." The V-280 Valor, a tilt-rotor aircraft designed by Bell and Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Army's Joint Multirole Technology Demonstrator program, is predicted to achieve a speed of 280 kt and a combat range of 800 nm, well exceeding conventional helicopter capabilities. "That's the capability that our war fighters need, and they need it now," Garrison added. "They don't need it in 2035."