The V-280 is a 3d-gen tiltrotor design for the US Army Future Vertical Lift programm (FVL) and also a tech demonstrator for the Joint Multi-Role programme (JMR). A prototype for the Bell-Lockheed design is currently under construction.
Spirit AeroSystems rolls out V-280 helicopter fuselage for Bell
In the rapid prototyping building tucked away on the campus of Spirit AeroSystems Inc. where numerous ideas have become actual aircraft, a new one was added to the list Tuesday — this one designed to improve fighting capability and save lives for the U.S. Army.
Spirit (NYSE: SPR) on Tuesday unveiled the completed composite fuselage for Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor tilt rotor, an aircraft that is competing in the Department of Defense’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program.
The goal is to replace 2,000 to 4,000 medium-class utility and attack helicopters for the Army, with the same type of capability the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey has provided the U.S. Marines Corps.
Adding to the festive mood at Spirit was the fact that the development team took only 22 months to design and build the fuselage — a month ahead of schedule — while hitting the price points critical to winning the contract.
“We hit the price point, it’s game, set, match,” said Bell Helicopter’s president and CEO, John Garrison. “The competition doesn’t stand a chance.”
Bell is competing against a team of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and the Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), which will be offering up SB-1 Defiant helicopter in a program that is a precursor to the DoD’s Future Vertical Lift program to replace existing helicopters.
It’s the first partnership between Spirit and Bell, an opportunity Garrison said he saw when Larry Lawson joined Spirit as CEO after leaving Lockheed Martin Corp.
Should Bell win out on the program, Spirit would be in line to build thousands of the fuselages.
Garrison said they hope to do so much quicker than the 2035 timeframe currently targeted by the military.
“Our war fighters need better capability,” he said. “Our job is to deliver the capability now.”
The first fuselage will now go from Spirit to Bell’s assembly facility in Amarillo, Texas.
It is expected to fly in September 2017.
Lawson has previously said defense is an area where Spirit can grow.
With the V-280, he said, the team at Spirit is demonstrating how cost efficiently it can provide such products — in this case a product that will help transform the way the Army carries out its mission.
It also demonstrates, he said, the company’s commitment to its customers.
That, he hopes, has also laid the foundation for future work with Bell.
“You want to be the first phone call your customer makes,” he said.
Lawson credited the team that designed and built the fuselage as the reason those customers make those calls.
That Tuesday’s speakers at the event stood beside it at all is testament to the work that team put in, said Phil Anderson, senior vic president of Spirit Defense.
“Without the people on this team, this great product wouldn’t be sitting here today in just 22 months,” Anderson said.
Some cool pics of the single-screen co.ckpit:
Yeah. That and I've seen enough mistakes on touch-screen phones to know what other disasters could result with a screen like that.
Sure looks pretty though... for the gaming culture.