The company’s V-280 Valor project has been selected as a successor to the ageing UH-60 Black Hawk, which entered active service with the US Army in 1979. The first Valor aircraft is expected to enter use by the US Army in 2030.
The aircraft has a tiltrotor design and is powered by two AE 1107F Rolls-Royce engines, in contrast to the rival Sikorsky-Boeing project, known as DEFIANT X, which employed a coaxial rotor.
Bell has been awarded a contract worth up to $1.3 billion, with an initial obligation valued at $232 million over the next 19 months. This first round of funding will support the continued design and development of the Valor, including the development of virtual prototypes.
“For the past several years the Bell team demonstrated the exceptional operational capabilities, digital thread synergies, and platform affordability enhancements the V-280 provides,” said Keith Flail, Executive Vice President for Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell.
The FLRAA program was launched by the army in 2019 as part of its Future Vertical Lift initiative, with the initial goal of replacing a portion of its assault and utility helicopter fleet.