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IMH 2024: Leonardo, Bell to explore tiltrotor options for NGRC next-gen rotorcraft

Leonardo and Bell are to leverage their respective AW609 (pictured) and V-22/V-280 tiltrotors for the NATO NGRC programme. (Leonardo)

Leonardo and Bell signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 29 February geared at evaluating tiltrotor options for the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) programme.

The European and US companies will pool their combined tiltrotor knowledge on the AW609 and V-22 Osprey/V-280 Valor respectively, as they look to secure the fifth concept study of the NGRC effort to develop the next generation of rotorcraft for 2035 and beyond. Leonardo will take the lead for the effort, with Bell acting in support.

The NGRC programme sees European NATO members France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK (with Canada now an observer country and set to join soon, while the US and Spain are observer countries) developing a new medium-lift rotorcraft to replace more than 900 medium platforms that will reach the end of their life cycles in the 2035โ€“40 timeframe. With a required cruise speed of 220 kt, speed is the defining objective of this NGRC effort.

โ€œWe do not want to have something that can be delivered today; we want to have something that is innovative when it enters service in the 2040s,โ€ NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) Programme Manager Cyril Heckel said at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference in London on the same day as the signing of the Leonardo-Bell MOU.

First reported by Janes

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