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Navy League 2024: Bell targets V-280 manned, V-247 unmanned platforms as replacement for USN MH-60R/S helicopters

A V-280 Valor in flight. Bell is modifying the V-280 and pairing it with the V-247 drone to compete for the US Navy's Future Vertical Lift-Maritime Strike programme. (Bell)

The US Navy (USN) is starting to look for its next-generation maritime strike platform. Bell is offering a variant of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor teamed with its V-247 Vigilant unmanned aircraft for the navy's Future Vertical Lift-Maritime Strike (FVL-MS) capability, building off the V-280's selection for the army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme.

The selection of the V-280 for the FLRAA programme has increased interest from the other services on the possibilities of the platform for their requirements, Tyler Harrell, manager of Military Sales and Strategy Advanced Systems at Bell, told Janes on 9 April at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition in National Harbor, Maryland.

The FVL-MS programme aims to replace USN MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters, which perform a variety of maritime missions, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), maritime strike, and search-and-rescue (SAR). The USN is looking at attaining Milestone A, or the start of competition, for the FVL-MS programme in the fourth quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2026, Harrell said. Accordingly, Bell is conducting pre-milestone weapons integration and risk reduction work with US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), “trying to paint a better picture for them and show the things that are” part of the FLRAA platform as well as teaming capability with the V-247, he said.

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