Bell Helicopter is applying systems designed for its 525 Relentless commercial medium twin to the V-280 Valor third-generation tiltrotor technology demonstrator it is developing for the U.S. Army as part of its Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Program for Future Vertical Lift (FVL).
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison said that the price of the company’s new short light single (SLS) helicopter would be pegged near $1 million. Bell is expected to reveal a mock-up of its re-entry into the light single market at its booth on Tuesday at 11 a.m.
A prominent contingent of three Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors has descended on Singapore for the airshow to highlight the type’s significant capabilities, which combine the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft with the mobility and no-runway operations of a helicopter.
In June this year the second multi-year procurement contract was signed for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. It will deliver 93 MV-22s for the Marine Corps and seven more CV-22s for the US Air Force over the course of five years. With the current annual rate of production running at around 40 aircraft, that means that in the near future there will be considerable production capacity available for foreign military sales (FMS) as deliveries to the U.S. military drop off.
Israel will receive six Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotors, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirmed. They will come out of “the next order to go on the assembly line,” he added, with delivery within two years. The V-22s are being built under multi-year contracts, the latest of which was signed earlier this year.
Bell Boeing, the joint venture that produces the V-22 and MV-22 tiltrotor for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, announced that it had successfully demonstrated the capability of that aircraft to serve as an aerial refueling tanker in trials with F/A-18C/D fighters. The test V-22 used a retractable refueling drogue. Bell Boeing has been promoting the V-22 for other roles, including that of the Greyhound COD resupply mission for aircraft carriers.
In the midst of three new helicopter programs, Bell announced major changes to its executive leadership team in late August.
While Bell Helicopter may be banking on its tiltrotor technology to recapture market dominance in U.S. Army aviation, the civil market will continue to rely on conventional helicopter design for some years to come, CEO John Garrison told AIN.
The bid deadline for the U.S. Navy’s high-profile VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program closed on August 1 with apparently only one bidder—Sikorsky Aircraft—submitting a proposal. The Navy declined to identify the number of bids received, but other companies that had earlier announced plans to compete for the VXX contract confirmed that they have decided not to submit proposals.
Contract negotiations between the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and AVX Helicopter, Bell Helicopter and the Sikorsky/Boeing team–the potential Phase I vendors for the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD)–are nearing completion. Announcement of the awards for a new U.S. Army medium helicopter are planned for September, according to an Army spokesman.
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