Bell V-280 Valor

Helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft
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Unread post20 Oct 2015, 12:22

vilters wrote:Tilt rotors are very good on paper. Just like "swing wing" airplanes are very good on paper.
In a decade or so, the "tilt-rotors" will be were the swing-wings are now.

Somebody forgot to tell the Marines who're all praises for their Ospreys, I guess they're hallucinating :doh:
Last edited by popcorn on 21 Oct 2015, 01:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post20 Oct 2015, 18:42

vilters wrote:Tilt rotors are very good on paper. Just like "swing wing" airplanes are very good on paper.
In a decade or so, the "tilt-rotors" will be were the swing-wings are now.


The NATF (USN F-22) would have been a swing-wing. Swing-wings aren't "old fashioned" there just haven't been missions that required them. The A/FX that was going to be bought instead was also a swing-wing.
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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 01:16

sferrin wrote:
tritonprime wrote:Does the Active Vibration Control of Sikorsky's X2 Technology also add complexity?


If they ditched the swashplate, and are controlling the blade pitch with software, then it would just be part of the software.

By all appearances, there is no swash-plate, so it must be pure fly-by-wire.
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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 22:54

"Bell CEO: Army Should Move Faster On FVL Program"
Oct 19, 2015 Graham Warwick | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/defense/bell-ce ... vl-program

The U.S. Army could cut years and billions of dollars from the planned Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Medium advanced-rotorcraft program by going straight into development after completion of the Joint Multi Role (JMR) technology demonstration, says Bell Helicopter President and CEO John Garrison.

JMR is demonstrating candidate high-speed rotorcraft to replace the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter and potentially the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack platform. Bell is building the V-280 Valor tiltrotor and a Sikorsky/Boeing team is offering the SB-1 Defiant rigid coaxial-rotor compound helicopter.

Current plans call for JMR to end in fiscal 2019, with the two “X-plane” demonstrators flying in 2017, to be followed by a technology development phase in which competing “Y-plane” prototypes would be flown. This would lead into development and result in an initial operational capability (IOC) in 2035.

"We don’t have to wait until 2035,” says Garrison. “Industry is making the investment and can move faster than the current acquisition process. We could go to EMD [engineering and manufacturing development] shortly after we fly in 2017. We do not need another technology development phase.”

Bell is making rapid progress in manufacture of the 280-kt. V-280 demonstrator, with the composite fuselage produced by Spirit AeroSystems now in final assembly at the rotorcraft manufacturer’s Amarillo, Texas, plant. Sikorsky Boeing is to begin final assembly of the 230-kt. SB-1 in 2016.

Industry is spending $4 for every dollar of the $200 million of government funding in the JMR technology demonstration, says Garrison. The Bell team has 11 investing partners including Lockheed Martin. “We are on schedule, and hitting our affordability and sustainability targets,” says Garrison.

“We will fly no later than September 2017,” says Keith Flail, V-280 program director. “We do not need to wait until 2035 to get the capability.” If the demonstrators fly in 2017, the Army could take a Milestone B decision to enter EMD in 2020 and IOC could be achieved by 2025-27, says Garrison.

“It’s an opportunity to save 7-9 years. The savings would be huge versus doing a second technology development phase,” he says.

“It will be important over the next couple of years to establish firm requirements” for FVL Medium, Garrison says. The Army in January introduced the concept of “Capability Sets,” or groups of missions, for FVL. Medium includes Capability Sets 2 and 3, which are essentially the attack and utility mission groups.

“We are focused on Capability Set 3, which is Black Hawk replacement,” Garrison says. To shorten the program, “it will be incredibly important to define the requirements. We need to get the air-vehicle right, because it will last 75-100 years, then we can upgrade it as technology evolves,” he says.

Flail says design to delivery of the V-280’s fuselage took Spirit just 22 months, and involved minimal tooling, laser alignment and determinate assembly. “There are just three hard shims in the entire fuselage,” he says. The aircraft has composite skins over metal frames.

The nacelles are being built in Amarillo from hardware supplied by Israel Aerospace Systems. Where the entire nacelle rotates on the V-22, on the V-280 only the proprotor gearbox rotates and the engine stays horizontal. Flail says the nacelles are a challenge because they are the last to mature, due to design changes, but need to be first to be released for fabrication.

The V-280 flight simulator built by Textron sister company Tru Simulation & Training is being used for fly-by-wire flight-control-system software development, which is now through the initial Build 1 release stage, says Flail. This is being used for customer demonstrations of the V-280’s acceleration, deceleration and high- and low-speed agility.

The first General Electric T64 engine for the demonstrator is through overhaul and acceptance testing at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. The second will be completed this year and two more spare engines next year.

Lord Corp. is supplying the elastomeric bearings that are key to the increased flapping capability of the V-280’s 35-ft.-dia. proprotors compared with the V-22’s. Flail says this results in increased low-speed agility. In airplane mode, the elastomeric bearings are lightly loaded, extending their life, he adds.

Lockheed is developing the avionics, mission equipment package and the pilotage distributed-aperture system (DAS) that will be flown on the demonstrator. “This was not a necessary requirement, but collectively we decided to fly the DAS to increase risk reduction for FVL,” he says. Flight tests will show the 360-deg. sensor’s capability in degraded visual environments such as brownout.

Lockheed is also developing an open-architecture cockpit for the V-280 that is compliant with the Future Airborne Capabilities Environment reusable software standard the Army is embracing for FVL. With Lockheed’s pending acquisition of JMR/FVL rival Sikorsky, Garrison says there have been contractual changes made to build in firewalls and commit Lockheed to fulfilling its role on the V-280.

In other areas, a manufacturing readiness review has been completed on the metallic-and-composite V-tail being produced by GKN. The Build 1 software is being integrated into the Moog-supplied flight control computers, which will be linked to the company’s flight-control actuators for hardware-in-the-loop testing in the V-280 system integration laboratory at Bell.

Astronics is supplying the electrical power and distribution system. Eaton is providing the hydraulic system, “which has unique conveying needs because we only rotate the proprotor gearbox,” Flail says. Meggit is supplying the fuel system, which includes an optional tank inside the aircraft to enable the V-280 to fly from the U.S. West Coast to Hawaii unrefueled, he says.

Bell’s major components are the carbon-fiber wing, proprotor gearbox and composite yoke for the rotor hub. The wing is the first use of large-cell carbon core composites—a sandwich of carbon-fiber skins and honeycomb—for simplicity and light weight, says Flail, and two test boxes have been built to validate manufacturing processes, strength and stiffness.

The hub yoke is laid up from composite broadgoods in open-face tooling and machined around the edges for a 50% cost reduction over using closed tooling, he says. The V-280 also has the first all-carbon tiltrotor blade for improved reliability, lower cost and greater aerodynamic performance, he adds.

Bell’s Fort Worth plant will deliver the first gearbox components this month. Getting a rotorcraft gearbox through qualification testing and into flight can take a lot of time and effort, including redesigns, but Flail says he is “feeling very comfortable about staying on schedule and getting it tested and on the aircraft.”
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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 01:40

Good call incorporating DAS on their own initiative. Expect their rivals to do the same.
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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 02:31

popcorn wrote:Good call incorporating DAS on their own initiative. Expect their rivals to do the same.


Not surprising considering that Lockheed Martin is keen on porting over the F-35's sensor fusion to JMR/FVL including the Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS). The V-280 mock-up also has a single touch-screen instrument panel. Unfortunately, Sikorsky and Boeing have been tight-lipped about the avionic systems they are considering for the SB-1 Defiant.
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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 02:37

tritonprime wrote:
popcorn wrote:Good call incorporating DAS on their own initiative. Expect their rivals to do the same.


Not surprising considering that Lockheed Martin is keen on porting over the F-35's sensor fusion to JMR/FVL including the Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS). The V-280 mock-up also has a single touch-screen instrument panel. Unfortunately, Sikorsky and Boeing have been tight-lipped about the avionic systems they are considering for the SB-1 Defiant.

No problem .. LM is acquiring Sikorsky :D
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Unread post19 Nov 2015, 23:22

"Bell Could Have FVL Ready By 2025"
by Lara Seligman 5:56 p.m. EST November 16, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /75562700/

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — As the Pentagon considers the future of military vertical lift, Bell Helicopter is talking with the US services about designing a next-generation tiltrotor solution that could begin low-rate production in the mid-2020s, one company official said.

Bell is partnered with Lockheed Martin to build a rotorcraft flight demonstrator as part of the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role program, which will gauge the art of the possible for the path ahead. The demonstrator program will inform the Army’s Future Vertical Lift effort to buy a new state-of-the-art family of helicopters in the 2030s.

The demonstration effort may have implications beyond the Army. The Pentagon has indicated that FVL may eventually replace the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force military helicopters as well.

But for now, Bell is working with the Army and Marine Corps to shorten the time line for fielding the aircraft, the V-280, program manager Chris Gehler told Defense News Nov. 16.

“Bell Helicopter is working closely with the Army and the Marine Corps on informing the requirements of FVL, exploring the options for shortening the time required to field this aircraft,” said Gehler said. “We’ll work with our primary customers in the Army and Marine Corps to explore different ways to enter into a low rate production by the mid 2020’s. We are in close communication with the DOD to bring the V-280 onboard as soon as possible with limited risk to better take advantage of the industry and DOD investment.”

The Bell-Lockheed team is offering its V-280 Valor tiltrotor, which builds on the technology developed for Bell-Boeing’s V-22. The competing team, made up of Sikorsky Aircraft and Boeing, is working on a coaxial helicopter known as the SB-1 Defiant for the demonstrator effort.

Although the demonstrator prototypes will fly in 2017, the Army is currently not planning a contract award until the late 2020s, Richard Harris, Bell’s vice president for international military business sales, said in an interview with Defense News. But he stressed that company officials believe the Bell-Lockheed team could achieve initial operational capability by 2025.

“The Army and DOD are exploring options for shortening the V-280 development timeframe, given the significant investment by DOD and industry,” Gehler said. “The Army intends to enter a technology maturation and risk review (TMRR) phase around 2020. We feel a case could be made to instead jump ahead to the Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase, given the technology readiness levels we will demonstrate. This has the potential to move the entire timeline up, and deliver this leap-ahead capability to the warfighters years earlier.”

Bell’s goal is ultimately to replace all the Pentagon’s helicopters with the V-280, Harris said, touting the plane’s speed and flexibility. The Valor will have twice the speed and range of the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk, more than doubling operational reach, according to Bell’s website. The future plane will also outperform the V-22, Harris said, with a combat radius of 1,200 nautical miles compared to the Osprey’s 900 nautical miles.

In one major difference between the two tiltrotors, the Valor’s engines remain in place for transition to forward-flying position, while the rotors and drive shafts tilt, Harris explained.

The V-280 will also build on the V-22’s offensive capability. Unlike the Osprey, the Valor will have a forward-firing capability, likely achieved by integrating Hellfire missiles into the plane’s side panels, he said.

While the new aircraft’s cabin will look much like a Black Hawk’s, the advanced glass cockpit uses similar technology to the F-35, Harris said, touting the plane’s fly-by-wire flight control system.

Bell just received the first cabin, and is getting ready to integrate the wings and engine onto the plane, Harris said, adding that “it went together like Lego blocks.”

“When you take a look at the dynamic world that we live in these days and how fast things happen and how far away things happen, a conventional helicopter just does not meet the requirements of all the services,” Harris said. “We are trying to define the standard for what future vertical lift is based upon [Bell’s] legacy and the fact that we are the ones that developed the secret sauce for the V-22.”
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Unread post20 Nov 2015, 01:58

"Bell is partnered with Lockheed Martin to build a rotorcraft flight demonstrator as part"

Interesting now that they own Sikorsky.
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Unread post20 Nov 2015, 03:16

sferrin wrote:"Bell is partnered with Lockheed Martin to build a rotorcraft flight demonstrator as part"

Interesting now that they own Sikorsky.

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Unread post20 Nov 2015, 03:42

sferrin wrote:"Bell is partnered with Lockheed Martin to build a rotorcraft flight demonstrator as part"

Interesting now that they own Sikorsky.


Looks like the issue has been addressed. :mrgreen:

"Bell and Lockheed modify V-280 contract ahead of Sikorsky takeover"
12 October, 2015 BY: James Drew Washington DC

Source:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ik-417664/

Lockheed Martin’s pending acquisition of Sikorsky has caused some contractual changes between Lockheed and Bell Helicopter for V-280 Valor development to ensure there is no cross pollination with its competitor, the Boeing-Sikorsky SB-1 Defiant.

Bell president and chief executive John Garrison says Lockheed continues to be a good partner on the programme and already follows many of the firewalling policies now solidified in the contract.

Bell and Lockheed have been partnered on the V-280 since 2013, with first flight under the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR-TD) programme planned for September 2017. Lockheed is developing the third-generation tiltrotor aircraft’s mission system, and its $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky will place it on the opposing SB-1 team with Boeing.

Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly and Lockheed head Marillyn Hewson are said to have discussed the issue when the acquisition was announced in July, and the two sides have appear to have resolved any competing interests.

"Lockheed called me and said, ‘this is the world we operate in. We can put in firewalls. We compete on some programmes and cooperate on others,’” Garrison said at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington this week. “We actually had a contractual change, and they’ve committed to a lot of things they were in fact doing as part of the programme. Lockheed has been a great teammate and done everything we’ve asked, plus – and we believe they’ll continue to do that.”

JMR-TD aims to mature two competing rotorcraft design in preparation for the army’s upcoming Future Vertical Lift programme, which is currently aiming for initial operational capability in 2035.

Bell believes the V-280 could be delivered to military users seven to 10 years ahead of that schedule.

Spirit AeroSystems delivered the first composite fuselage to Bell’s Amarillo plant in September, and the GKN Aerospace V-tail aerostructure is due to arrive for mating in 2016.

Garrison says his preferred time line would place IOC in 2026 or 2027, and the engineering and manufacturing development phase should begin soon after the first flight.

“We don’t need to do another five- or 10-year technology development phase as we go forward,” he says. “There’s an absolute need for this capability and we can move faster than the current acquisition process is playing out.”

Boeing and Sikorsky have expressed a similar sentiment on their side.

Garrison says for every $1 being spent by the US government on the JMR-TD endeavour, industry is spending approximately $4. He says that level of investment from the V-280 team’s 11 industry participants is unsustainable and the US Army will eventually need to contribute more.
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Unread post19 Sep 2016, 23:57

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/bel ... tical-lift

The demonstrator will already have met key performance parameters in terms of speed and range and other capabilities but it’s also being built now with affordability in mind, Gehler said. Typically, a first design of a helicopter is one of the most expensive investments in the life of a program, but the company is taking lessons learned from the V-22 in driving out cost for the V-280, such as manufacturing a single wing structure.

“We focused on materials, techniques in manufacturing that could eliminate cost,” Gehler said. “not as sexy but it has actual real payoff for the customer.”

And Bell has designed Valor using a “digital thread environment” where it was able to design the aircraft, collaborate with suppliers, engineers, and information technology teams in order to understand where interference might be and where changes need to be made. “So by the time it gets to the build,” Gehler said, “pieces are snapping together, wires are going where they need to, the rework is significantly reduced.”

And the aircraft is coming together just like that, according Gehler. The V-280 is 65 percent complete.

The team will install gear boxes and engines later in November. In February, final assembly will occur and by April, Bell will begin ground run testing in preparation for its first flight series in the summer.

Flight tests will run through calendar year 2018 and into 2019.

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Unread post06 Oct 2016, 13:53

Just saw the V-280 mock-up on display, and noticed a couple of things.
The most obvious was the @#$%ing huge display screen that covers the entire width of the dash board. It's seamless, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was three or four separate screens in the same way that the F-35 touch screen is two.
The nacelle design has changed, and there seems to be a filter set up and something like a butterfly valve to block the intake -- maybe so the engines can idle safely in dusty landing zones.
There are now also a bunch of images of naval variants with wings that rotate like the Osprey's and either inverted or folding stablilators.
They are advertising a "smart gun" and "smart ammo" instead of a chin turret.
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Unread post09 Oct 2016, 22:45

A great feature for troops heading into a hot LZ.

http://breakingdefense.com/2016/10/bell ... part-f-35/


Under the skin, the V-280 seems a lot more like a prop-driven F-35. The first sign is six relatively small, round holes in the V-280’s composite skin. Those holes – two in the V-280’s nose, two near its V-shaped tail and one each on the top and bottom of the fuselage – are where Bell plans to install small video cameras, creating a Distributed Aperture System similar to one used by the F-35. As in the F-35, the imagery collected by those cameras will be quilted together by a computer program to create a live 360-degree view displayed on the visor of the pilot’s helmet, allowing him to see what’s under, above, in front of or behind the aircraft.

As Bell’s V-280 build manager, Scott Allen, told me when I visited Amarillo last month to see the actual V-280 work in progress, this Lockheed-supplied Pilotage Distributed Aperture System (abbreviated PDAS and pronounced “PEE-dass”), “turns the whole aircraft into Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, basically” — an analogy Lockheed reps also often use. But unlike the F-35, which carries just its pilot, the V-280’s PDAS imagery is to be sent to six special helmets, four for the Valor’s two pilots and two crew chiefs and two for commanders or others riding in the back cabin, which would hold 12 troops. The imagery could also be transmitted to screens in or far from the aircraft, just as the F-35 shares data with legacy aircraft like the F-16 and F-18, a stealth fighter like the F-22, Navy ships and other platforms. Why equip a relatively slow aircraft with high-tech sensors like this?

Vince Tobin, Bell vice president for advanced tiltrotor systems, said the PDAS can help V-280 pilots land safely in dust, sand, snow or other “degraded visual environments.” PDAS imagery could also be used by troop commanders in the back to spot enemy positions or terrain features that might interfere with an assault, letting them come up with better options as they approach their objective, which is why gunners and others behind the cockpit would get access to the data.

The PDAS also puts sensors such as those carried in turrets or externally by helicopters into the skin of the V-280, eliminating drag and weight.

Rita Flaherty, vice president for strategy at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said Northrop Grumman makes the F-35’s DAS but “we’ve got a lot of capabilities that lend themselves to Lockheed Martin developing a distributed aperture system for rotary wing.” Lockheed Missiles and Fire Control has made pilotage and targeting sensors for years for the Army’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, made by Boeing, and the Marine Corps AH-1Z Cobra, made by Bell, she said.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post09 Oct 2016, 23:29

Interesting. I saw them advertising the DAS-like sensors, and was wondering if they had brought in Northrop Grumman. Guess not.
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