Photo: Bell V-280 concept
We have talked about “Future Vertical Lift” (FVL) before. It’s a program to replace several helicopters, including the H-60, with advanced aircraft with much greater speed and range.
Defense News reports that while V-280 demonstrator is expected to fly in 2017, the Army, which has the lead, doesn’t expect to fund production until in the late 2020s with the aircraft coming on line in the 2030s. But the Bell/Lockheed team that is producing the V-280 Valor, believes that there is Air Force and Navy interest that could see initial operational capability by 2025.
Meanwhile, Aero News Network reports the UAE has decided to purchase three AW609 tiltrotors, for Search and Rescue, with an option for three more. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2019. These aircraft will have twice the speed and twice the range of the helicopters they replace (275 knot maximum speed and 750 nm range).
Photo: AW609 prototype
I can’t help but think these would be awfully useful in the Arctic, and wouldn’t it be nice, if when we launch on a long range recovery mission, we could have two tilt-rotors, instead of a helicopter and a fixed wing.