BELL HELICOPTER and a Sikorsky-Boeing team have been selected by the US Army Aviation Technology to build prototypes for Phase 1 of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme. Bell is offering its new V-280 Valor tiltrotor design, while Sikorsky-Boeing has proposed the SB-1 Defiant, which is based on Sikorsky’s X2 co-axial design.
Boeing- Sikorsky confirmed that they had been selected in an announcement on August 12, but Bell Helicopter has made no comment on its selection. AVX Aircraft and Karem Aircraft were also competing for the contract. AVX was offering a co-axial rotor compound helicopter, while Karem’s proposal was a variable-speed tiltrotor. Although both have now been side-lined, some of the technology they have developed may still be used for the programme.
It is planned that both of the JMR-TD demonstrators will fly in late Fiscal Year 2017, following which they will carry out three-year test programme. JMR TD is intended to develop technology and configurations for the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme. FVL is intended to provide the next generation of vertical lift aircraft, with greater performance, reliability and affordability. The new helicopter is intended to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk. It is expected that a contract for FVL will be awarded in 2019 to enable an operational capability to be achieved from the mid-2030s. Alan Warnes