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Eaton ramps up FLRAA role

Eaton will contribute to the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft. (Bell)

Eaton Corporation's US-based Aerospace business, which is part of the Bell Textron-led industry team that won the US Army's Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition, sees the programme as a significant growth opportunity, according to a company official.

Eaton is gearing up for a recently awarded contract to develop hydraulic systems for Bell's winning platform, the V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft, said Jimmy Yeh, vice-president for strategic planning and marketing at Eaton Aerospace Group. The company is talking with Bell about potentially providing additional content, such as fuelling equipment and refuelling probes, and expects a decision by 2024.

“That's a really important programme for us” because it is expected to replace thousands of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters in the US and foreign countries, Yeh told Janes on 22 August.

The army selected the V-280 over the Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant X helicopter in December 2022. After the Sikorsky-Boeing team protested the decision, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld the award in April 2023, allowing Bell to proceed with the programme.

Eaton Aerospace Group works on many other military aircraft programmes, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter for which it provides the hydraulic power generation system, hydraulic utility actuation subsystem, wing fluid delivery system, and other equipment. “It's a significant platform for us,” Yeh said.

Through its Mission Systems Division, which it created after acquiring Cobham Group's Mission Systems business for USD2.8 billion in 2021, Eaton Aerospace Group provides air-to-air refuelling systems for many Western tankers, including the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus and the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

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