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Air Platforms

Update: Bell completes final V-280 key performance parameter test

22 May 2019
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Bell recently completed its final V-280 key performance parameter (KPP) under the US Army's JMR-TD programme. Source: Bell

Key Points

  • Bell completed its final V-280 key performance parameter testing by demonstrating low-speed agility manoeuvres
  • This demonstrates the aircraft's agility beyond a minimum US Army standard

In early May, Bell completed its final V-280 Valor tiltrotor key performance parameter (KPP) testing for the US Army's Joint Multi-role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme by demonstrating low-speed agility manoeuvres.

Paul Wilson, V-280 chief engineer, told Jane's on 17 May that Bell demonstrated pitch, roll, and yaw manoeuvres to see how much rate the aircraft could generate for a given change in attitude. Bell, he said, pushed the V-280 to its limits to demonstrate maximum agility.

Bell said in a statement it has now demonstrated in flight testing that it has the raw control power in pitch, roll, and yaw manoeuvres to meet the US Army's Level 1 handling qualities requirements, which is the highest performance standard for agility. Wilson said Bell is evaluating the maximum rate of change the V-280 can generate over a given change in attitude or heading.

The Level 1 handling requirement is how the army quantifies aircraft performance beyond a minimum standard. Ryan Ehinger, Bell V-280 programme manager, said that the latest flight milestone demonstrates that the aircraft delivers first-rate handling during low-speed manoeuvres without sacrificing speed, range, or payload.

"If you can generate that rate of change capability above that line, that is essentially implying that you have enough raw control power on the aircraft to provide the operator the agility they need to react in a dynamic threat environment," Wilson said.

The JMR-TD period of performance ends in September. Wilson said Bell will continue expanding the V-280's envelope, demonstrating operationally relevant manoeuvres, and looking at integrating and demonstrating new technologies.

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