Arlington

New Bell Tiltrotor Aircraft Demonstrated for Military in Arlington

Bell Flight shows off new vertical-lift aircraft to military officials, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger at Arlington facility

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It can take off like a helicopter and can travel like an airplane. The Bell V-280 Valor is a new vertical-lift, tiltrotor aircraft. A demonstration was held Wednesday for top-ranking Army officials and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) at the Bell Flight test facility in South Arlington.

To see what this does is just really is amazing,” Granger said. “It is a game-changer. It's something that will protect the troops involved in that."

dignitaries watch demonstration
Vince Sims, NBC 5 News
Dignitaries including U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) watch a demonstration in Arlington of the Bell 280 Valor, Jan. 8, 2020.

On paper, the Bell V-280 boasts its speed, agility, and flexibility to provide the benefits of both a helicopter and airplane.

"We built this aircraft to go twice as far, twice as fast as conventional rotor craft,” Bell V-280 Chief Engineer Paul Wilson said. “So we are meeting the Army's assault mission at those higher speeds and ranges."

But United States Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy wants more than just words.

"To quote General McConville, our chief, we are going to fly it before we buy it,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said. “We need to see progress. We are not going to buy a billion-dollar powerpoint slide."

Bell 280 Valor in flight
Vince Sims, NBC 5 News
Bell 280 Valor in flight during a demonstration in South Arlington, Jan. 8, 2020.

The V-280 would replace the Black Hawk helicopter. McCarthy said it's time for modernization in the military to stay a strong global force.

"As much as Iran is a challenge, look around at what near-peer competitors are doing all over the world,” McCarthy said. “Russia, China, North Korea, we have to have the best and breed capabilities so we can win anywhere like we have for the last 245 years."

The Army could make a selection process in the next two to three years. They hope to have some type of new vertical lift aircraft in the field to soldiers by 2030.

Bell 280 Valor in flight
Vince Sims, NBC 5 News
Bell 280 Valor in flight during a demonstration in South Arlington, Jan. 8, 2020.
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