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Here is the sequel to the legendary Black Hawk. The Americans create the helicopter of the future

The US Army chose Bell to build a new helicopter. It will replace the UH-60 Black Hawk, which has served soldiers in combat since the 1970s. The working name of the new helicopter is the V-280 Valor.

After years of development, prototyping and test flights, the US Army has announced that Bell Textron’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor has won the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition to replace the aging UH-60 Black Hawk.

Two Bell machines competed in the FLRAA competition with the V-280 Valor, a tiltrotor helicopter, and Sikorsky and Boeing with the Defiant X, which has coaxial rotor blades.

Bell V-280 Valor

The tiltrotor is a machine that has two huge motors and propellers located on the sides of the hull, which can be positioned vertically or horizontally. In this way, the machine can take off vertically like a helicopter, then put the engines horizontally and fly like an airplane.

In Polish, such machines are called vertical and/or short take-off and landing rotors. The most famous example of such a machine so far is the V-22 Osprey.

V-22 Osprey

Like the V-22, the V-280 Valor has wingtip engines, but unlike the Osprey, only the rotors rotate, the engines remaining horizontal. The propeller shaft runs through the straight wing so that both propellers can be powered by a single engine in the event of an engine loss.

The fuselage of the V-280 Valor is visually similar to that of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The V-280 can travel at a cruising speed of 280 knots (520 km/h), hence the name V-280, and has a range of 3,900 km.

One of the main differences from the earlier V-22 Osprey tiltrotor is that the engines remain in place while the rotors and propeller shafts tilt.

The V-280 has retractable landing gear. The wings are made from a single section of composite reinforced with carbon fiber and a polymer cover, reducing weight and manufacturing costs.

V-280 Valor

After landing, the wing is more than 2.1 m above the ground, allowing troops to easily exit the two 1.8 m wide side doors, and the door gunners have a wide field of fire.

The V-280 will have a crew of four and will be able to carry up to 14 soldiers. Dual hooks for securing the cargo will give it sufficient lifting capacity to carry the M777A2 howitzer weighing 4,500 kg while flying at a speed of 280 km/h.

Bell is also working on an attack helicopter configuration. Bell and Lockheed ensure that the AV-280’s attack variant can launch rockets, missiles and even small unmanned aerial vehicles forward or backward without colliding with the propellers, even forward.

The butterfly tail, i.e. two vertical fins at the rear of the machine set in a V-shape, combined with advanced rudders made by the British company GKN, ensure extraordinary manoeuvrability.

The strategic partner in the V-280 project is Lockheed Martin, which is responsible for the machine’s avionics and mission systems. The interior of the new helicopter will include seats that wirelessly charge soldiers’ radios, night vision goggles and other electronic equipment, and windshields that display 3D mission maps for soldiers.

A competitive machine prepared by Sikorsky and Boeing

Particular attention was paid to reducing the weight of the V-280 compared to the V-22, thus reducing costs. The fuselage is made entirely of composites, the large chamber wings are made of carbon fiber.

V-280 technical data:

  • Crew: 4
  • Landing: 14 soldiers
  • Length: 15.4 meters
  • Width: 24.93 meters
  • Height: 7 m
  • Empty weight: 8200 kg
  • Maximum weight 14000 kg
  • Engine: 2 × General Electric T64
  • Propellers: diameter 10.7 m.

Here is the sequel to the legendary Black Hawk. The Americans create the helicopter of the future

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