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Total Car – Magazine – Black Hawk helicopters will be replaced by the US Army

Total Car – Magazine – Black Hawk helicopters will be replaced by the US Army

The US Army first set out its desires in 2004 regarding the type of helicopters it wanted to replace the somewhat outdated Black Hawks. Soon after, the Joint-Multi-Role (JMR) program was announced. The purpose is to develop a family of helicopters – specifically for the US Armed Forces – that can replace them UH-60 Black HawkThis is it AH-64 ApacheThe CH-47 Chinook And that Oh-58 Kiowa Type helicopters.

This means that the new machine should replace five different types of different sizes and different tasks. The concept aims to create a new rotary aircraft that uses new, reliable technologies and materials. The new machines had to be faster, have a longer range, have a higher carrying capacity, be easier to maintain, have lower operating costs, and be repairable even in camp conditions, with as little logistical footprint as possible. The time interval for the development and full-scale production program is set to be more than 50 years and a maximum cost of forty billion dollars (about HUF 15,600 billion) until 2050.

Initially, only three types of helicopters were envisaged: a small (JMR-Light), medium (JMR-Medium) and large (JMR-Heavy) payload version. These were then supplemented by two more versions, the small medium version (JMR-Medium-Light) and the very large version (JMR-Ultra), the size class of the C-130 Hercules. Although the detailed requirements are still being revised, in 2013 the US Department of Defense published a tender for the JMR project, from which several companies indicated their intention to start. Airbus Industries of EADS with Eurocopter X. AVX Aircraft with the JMR-TD, Karem Aircraft with the TR36 TD, Piasecki Aircraft with the X-49, which is actually a converted UH-60 Black Hawk, from which they could have developed their own JMR helicopter. Bell Helicopter with V-280 Valor rotor and Sikrosky-Boeing with Defiant SB-1 coaxial rotor arrangement were also applied for the tender.

Finally, in August 2014, the Army selected the last two models to build a single prototype for the JMR program. The program was renamed the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) project in 2016, and one year later the Bell V-280 Valor made its first flight, and the first visual renderings and videos of the Defiant SB-1 were published. The Boeing-Sikorsky-Boeing made its first takeoff in March 2019. Later that year, the Department of Defense renamed the Development and Procurement Program, which has since been called Future Long Range Strike Aircraft (FLRAA).

Since the Boeing-Sikorsky aircraft soon discovered that both its performance and payload capacity were lower than expected, it was redesigned. The name of the new helicopter has also been changed Defiant X, which received more powerful but more economical engines, and increased its payload capacity by forty percent. However, it seemed that even this was not enough to win, as the US Department of Defense chose the V-280 and signed the long-awaited contract with Bell Helicopter.

It is very similar to the Bell V-280 Valor V-22 Osprey to a tiltrotor helicopter, with the difference that Valor is much smaller physically And the entire engine structure does not move like a V-22, but only the rotor axles with rotor blades. The basic version of the V-280 has a length of 15.4 meters, a length of 24.9 meters, a height of seven meters, a weight of 8.2 tons, and a maximum take-off weight of 14 tons. It has a crew of four and can carry 14 armed soldiers. The aircraft is powered by two Rolls-Royce AE 1107F engines, the diameter of the propellers is 10.7 meters, and its cruising speed is 520 km / h, hence the model designation of the aircraft, which refers to the speed expressed in knots. Valor has a range of 3,600 km.

The Department of Defense has repeatedly stressed that it does not want to make mistakes in the FLRAA program that have raised costs to the skies in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program or the F-35. Therefore, many experts and other companies are involved in designing and starting mass production, so that costs can be kept low and production can start smoothly. Most likely, this will not work, because not only the F-35, but also the V-22, which has a design very similar to Valor, ran into a lot of problems after being put into order, which greatly increased development costs from Osprey. In any case, Bell is optimistic, saying they have looked carefully at the model family, and that the armed version in development will cost exactly as much as the AH-64E Apache. They forgot to mention that the standard Valor is three times more expensive than the UH-60 Black Hawk.

By the way, development has not stopped, we will soon see marine search and rescue and submarine hunting versions, after which the already mentioned armed, attack and reconnaissance helicopters will follow. If everything is correct, we will see their prototypes as early as next year, followed by transport vehicles of various sizes and support V-280s developed for special forces. However, they are currently starting to build the empty series of the basic (medium transport) Valors version, which will be followed by another contract, if everything is correct, in 2024, during which the US Army will order 700 transport helicopters.

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A Valor is currently worth $43 million (17 billion forints). Further development of the machine will cost 232 million dollars (90 billion forints). According to Bell’s plans, the V-280 Valor will be produced until 2065, during which time 9,000 units will be produced, which will bring the company total revenues of 80-90 billion dollars (31,000-35,000 billion HUF). The first fully operational Bell V-280 Valor could enter service in 2025.

Bell V-280 Valor Factory Video:

(Images: Bell Helicopter)

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