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Farnborough 2022: Bell eyes 360 Invictus export potential

The Bell 360 Invictus being developed for the US Army might soon be offered to the export market also. (Bell)

Bell is considering potential exports of the 360 Invictus helicopter it is developing for the US Army Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) requirement, a company representative told Janes on 20 July.

Speaking at the Farnborough Airshow, Chris Gehler, Bell vice-president and programme director for 360 Invictus, said that, although focus remains on competing the platform for FARA, there has been international interest.

“The US Army has an interest in its allies having the same capabilities as it. We are a little ‘on the front side' of those discussions, but you can't be too early and we have been supporting the army [in scoping out potential export interest],” Gehler said, adding, “I don't want to talk about specific countries, but the attributes of the Invictus should appeal to most air forces and/or armies [that operate helicopter gunships].”

In terms of potential exports, the countries that operate dedicated attack helicopter types such as the Airbus Tiger, the Bell AH-1Z Viper, and the Boeing AH-64 Apache would be obvious targets for the 360 Invictus. FARA in general, and the 360 Invictus in particular, “are all about speed”, Gehler said, noting that the internal weapons reduce drag, while the wings provide up to 25% of the lift in high-speed flight, allowing the main rotor blades to be slowed to avoid the dissymmetry-of-lift phenomena that normally limits the speed of conventional rotorcraft.

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