Bell Helicopter (Fort Worth, TX, US), a Textron Inc. (Providence, RI, US) company, has successfully joined the V-280 Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) composite wing and nacelles to the composite aircraft fuselage. The milestone was achieved at the company’s aircraft assembly center in Amarillo, TX.
The V-280 Valor is a next-generation tiltrotor designed to provide unmatched agility, speed, range, and payload capabilities at an affordable cost. Its design and fabrication leverages not only Bell Helicopter’s decades of tiltrotor experience, but also its expertise in composites. Carbon fiber-reinforced composites are used in the wing, fuselage and tail. Wing skins and ribs are reportedly adhesively bonded together and the traditional skin-stringer construction is replaced with Large Cell Carbon Core technology, reducing costs by over 30% vs. a V-22 wing scaled down to the same size. (Read CW’s Blog “Composites help Bell V-280 toward Future Vertical Lift”).
“The V-280 tiltrotor is designed with technology advancements that significantly reduce risk and cost, allowing the Department of Defense to field Future Vertical Lift (FVL) to the warfighter far earlier than previously anticipated. We have improved the manufacturing processes to arrive at a revolutionary aircraft with reduced sustainment costs and simplified maintenance procedures. This technology will provide the Department of Defense with the overmatch requirements to win in a complex world,” said Lisa Atherton, executive vice president of Military Business Development for Bell Helicopter.
In the coming weeks and months, Team Valor will prepare the V-280 for verification work leading to a tethered power-up at the Bell Helicopter facility in Amarillo in the first half of 2017. The T64-GE-419 engines and gearboxes are expected to be installed in the nacelles this November.