Bell’s next generation vertical lift aircraft achieves first flight

Valor in flight

Bell Helicopter on Monday, Dec. 18 announced that its V-280 Valor has achieved first flight. The V-280 Valor is Bell’s entry to be the next generation of vertical lift aircraft for the U.S. military.

“This is an exciting time for Bell Helicopter, and I could not be more proud of the progress we have made with first flight of the Bell V-280,” says Mitch Snyder, president and CEO for Bell Helicopter. “First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernization priorities and acquisition reform initiatives. The Valor is designed to revolutionize vertical lift for the U.S. Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake.”

The Bell V-280 Valor program is part of the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) initiative. The JMR-TD program is the science and technology precursor to the Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift program. The Future Vertical Lift program will introduce a next-generation family of rotorcraft that will eventually succeed and replace current rotorcraft used by the military. The future vertical lift program is expected to be the Pentagon’s second-largest arms and equipment purchase exceeded only by the Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft purchase.

The V-280 program brings together the engineering resources and industrial capabilities of Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, GE, Moog, IAI, TRU Simulation & Training, Astronics, Eaton, GKN Aerospace, Lord, Meggitt and Spirit AeroSystems—collectively referred to as Team Valor.

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“We are thrilled to share in this success of the V-280 first flight with Team Valor,” said Snyder. “The V-280 intends to completely transform what is possible for the military when it comes to battle planning and forward operations.”