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Technology Two area companies in competition for Army program

Two area companies in competition for Army program

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

• Bell V-280 Valor selected for Army program Bell Helicopter announced Thursday that its Bell V-280 Valor, its third generation tiltrotor design, has been selected by the U.S. Army for the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) program. The Army is expected to award JMR-TD contracts by September 2013, with first flight scheduled for 2017. “The Bell V-280 Valor will provide the Army’s most sought-after capability with a cruise speed of 280 knots,” said Keith Flail, director of Bell Helicopter’s Future Vertical Lift program. “We have also focused technology advancements on providing outstanding low-speed agility, high-hot (6K/95F) hover capability, multiple-g high-speed maneuverability, superior fuel efficiency and radically improved range capabilities while improving reliability and reducing costs.” Bell Helicopter unveiled plans for the Bell V-280 Valor – a “Future Vertical Lift” aircraft with twice the speed and range of earlier models – at the Army Aviation Association of America’s (AAAA) professional forum and exposition in Fort Worth April 10-13. The Valor features state-of-the-art 3rd generation tiltrotor technology specifically tailored to the unique demands of the United States Army, a Bell spokesman said. The Bell V-280 Valor’s features: • Speed: 280 KTAS cruise speed • Combat range: 500-800nm • Strategically Self-Deployable – 2100nm Range • Achieves 6k/95 • Triple redundant fly-by-wire flight control system • Conventional, retractable landing gear • Two 6′ wide large side doors for ease of ingress/egress After reviewing several JMR-TD proposals from various manufacturers, the U.S. Army evaluation team classified Bell Helicopter’s offering as a Category I proposal. According to the U.S. Army’s Contracting Division, a Category I proposal is a “well conceived, scientifically or technically sound proposal pertinent to program goals and objectives with applicability to Army mission needs, and offered by a responsible contractor with the competent scientific and technical staff supporting resources needed to ensure satisfactory program results. Proposals (or portions thereof) in Category I are recommended for acceptance and funding is available.” The JMR-TD program is the science and technology precursor to the Department of Defense’s estimated $100 billion Future Vertical Lift program expected to replace between 2000-4000 medium class utility and attack helicopters, according to Bell Helicopter. The U.S. Army and Department of Defense are seeking leap-ahead capabilities and have identified a speed of 230+ knots as a key discriminating capability. Its current fleet cruises at 130 knots. Bell Helicopter is a division of Textron Inc. • AVX selected too AVX officials announced that AVX Aircraft Company’s submission for the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator has been selected by the U.S. Army as a Category 1 proposal. Fort Worth-based AVX is now in negotiations with the Army. JMR TD contracts are expected to be awarded by September 2013. The AVX JMR aircraft has entry doors on both sides of the fuselage as well as a large rear ramp for easy cargo handling. Additionally it has retractable landing gear and the attack variant carries all armaments stored inside until needed which provides a “clean” aerodynamic design. Founded in 2005, and headquartered in Fort Worth, AVX Aircraft Company employs helicopter industry veterans and executives, many formerly with Bell Helicopter’s tilt-rotor program.  

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