“US Army makes largest helicopter award in 40 years” –Defense News

Bell’s V-280 prototype

And the Winner is — The Bell V-280 Valor

Defense News reports the winner of the Army’s “Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft” competion to find a replacement for the H-60.

With a demonstrated cruise speed of 305 knots, if it can do the SAR mission, this has real potential for the Coast Guard.

“The service wants FLRAA to be capable of traveling roughly 2,440 nautical miles (or 2,810 miles) without refueling, but also to be agile enough to maneuver troops into dangerous hot spots.”

1,725 nautical miles one way, was the threshold requirement.

Unless they add folding blades and a stowable wing like on the V-22, it really doesn’t look like it would be easily adaptable for shipboard use, but there is still another aircraft to be selected under the Future Vertical Lift program and it will be smaller. There are currently two competitors, The Bell Invictus and the Sikorsky Rader X. My money is on the Raider X compound helicopter. It also looks like it would require less modification to convert to civilian and Coast Guard use and seems to offer more improvement over existing aircraft.  

I also don’t think we can assume the Sikorsky competitor for FLRAA will completely disappear.

4 thoughts on ““US Army makes largest helicopter award in 40 years” –Defense News

  1. My thought on this is that the Navy will ultimately need a replacement for the MH-60R/S and as you have noted, the Raider X will probably be easier to adapt for shipboard use. Another factor is whether the V-280, even with a stowable wing and blades would fit into the existing DDG hangars which are designed around the H-60 airframe. I assume the Coast Guard will follow on with whatever the Navy selects.

  2. I think as a land-based SAR tilt rotorcraft, the V-280 has enormous potential. It has clear fields of fire for side door gunners and with a rescue hoist, can VBSS and lift survivors.

    V-280 will be instrumental in the Drug War for speed, range, and a sniper platform. No helicopter can match a tilt rotor’s performance. This will be a real game changer and force multiplier because it can land, hover, and fly fast and far.

    If adapted for the Arctic, the V-280 can patrol wide areas for ISR without a cutter present and get close enough that a drone cannot.

    I think the US Army made the right decision.

  3. Pingback: Some Posts of Interest | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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