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This could be the new replacement for the US Army's Blackhawk helicopter

V-280 takes half the time to construct as other existing aircraft and at half the cost

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 6:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 11:53am

After several decades of service, the US Army might finally replace their lineup of UH-60 Blackhawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters.

Unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in England, Bell Helicopter — in conjunction with Lockheed Martin — debuted their latest creation, the V-280 Valor.

Similar to the V-22 Osprey currently in service by the US Marine Corps and Air Force, the V-280 applies a tiltrotor mechanism to fly similar to normal helicopters and aircraft. However, the similarities seem to end there, as significant upgrades look to eclipse its predecessor’s capabilities.

Bell claims that the new V-280 will now be capable of flying at twice the speed and range of current helicopter platforms. Features of the helicopter include a 500-800 nautical miles range, aerial refueling, a crew of 4 and 14 troops, carrying capacity of 25 per cent more cargo than a Blackhawk, and its signature 280 knots true airspeed (KTAS).

The Valor will also have a forward-firing capability and a technologically advanced glass cockpit — like Lockheed Martin’s F-35.

In addition to its performance, the V-280 will be more affordable than the V-22: due to the nature of its straight wing design, the V-280 would not only take half the time to construct compared to the V-22’s swept wing, but also at half as cost — about US$20 million, similar to the UH-60.

Other nations, such as Australia, UK, and Canada, have also followed suit in expressing interest in the helicopter. So far, the construction of the helicopter is about 60 per cent completed and is slated to take its inaugural flight in September 2017.

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