AMARILLO, Texas (Dec. 18, 2017) -- Bell's Air Vehicle Concept Demonstrator aircraft, funded under the Army's Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration program, successfully achieved first flight Dec. 18 in Amarillo, Texas.
"The first flight of the Bell V-280 Valor under the JMR-TD program marks a huge milestone in the Future Vertical Lift initiative to advance the military to a fleet of next generational vertical lift aircraft," said Director of the Aviation Development Directorate, Dr. Bill Lewis. "We are right on track with this program we began in 2011. It is very exciting for our community."
The Army participated in the first flight event with support from the Aviation Engineering Directorate on site in the telemetry room, while Army experimental test pilots and flight test engineers from the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate were on site preparing to support follow-on tests.
"The integrated Bell and Army test team allows the Army to learn about the advantages of advanced high speed tiltrotors first hand in the cockpit and in the TM room," said John Crocco, the Army project engineer.
The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center leads the JMR-TD effort. JMR-TD is an Army Science & Technology program designed to develop, expand, and demonstrate new capabilities in vertical lift technology. It is a precursor to the Department of Defense FVL program. FVL will deliver the next generation of vertical lift aircraft to the Joint Warfighter, providing the speed, range, payload, and mission systems critical to successfully engage the enemy in future operations.
Four agreements were awarded under the JMR-TD to Sikorsky-Boeing, Bell Helicopter, AVX Aircraft, and Karem, with the Bell and Sikorsky-Boeing efforts funded to build and fly technology demonstrator aircraft. Bell's first flight is another milestone in an effort that was awarded in September 2013, with Preliminary Design Review in 2014, Critical Design Review and start of aircraft assembly in mid- 2015, and assembly complete in early 2017.
AMRDEC has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers. AMRDEC employs nearly 10,000 civilian scientists, engineers, and contract support.
U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is operationally aligned to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, and administratively aligned to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. This joint alignment established a closely woven research, development, acquisition, and sustainment team to provide increased responsiveness to the nation's Warfighters. AMRDEC has the mission to deliver collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions.