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Bell Moves Forward With Development of Its Military High-Speed VTOL Aircraft

Bell is one step closer to introducing its military high-speed vertical take-off and landing (HSVTOL) aircraft. The company has recently announced that it has been selected for the next phase of the U.S. Air Force's AFWERX Challenge.
Bell will advance its HSVTOL aircraft capabiltites 6 photos
Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotorBell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotorBell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotorBell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotorBell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory contracted Bell last year to research HSVTOL aircraft under the AFWERX Challenge, a crowdsourcing initiative for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Through this effort, the USAF and USSOCOM are looking for cutting-edge high-speed VTOL designs capable of supporting critical missions that require agile mobility.

Recently, Bell was chosen out of more than 200 challenge entrants to receive market research investments. The company gave us a glimpse of its concepts back in August. However, it didn't disclose much information.

While Bell hasn't released the full specs of its next-gen aircraft, we do know that its HSVTOLs combine a helicopter's hover capabilities with fighter jet's range and survivability.

The concepts range between 4,000 lbs (1,814 kg) to over 100,000 lbs (45,359 kg) and have a scalable design, which is meant to support a variety of missions, including human recovery, autonomous ISR/Strike, and tactical mobility.

Once completed, the aircraft will be capable of achieving speeds of more than 400 knots (460 mph/741 kph). Designed to serve as a solution for the next generation of warfighters, the HSVTOLs will also combine tiltrotor aircraft capabilities with the latest propulsion technologies and advanced digital flight control systems.

Bell will continue to advance its high-speed vehicles' capabilities over the following months. For this effort, it will work with the USAF, USSOCOM, and the HSVTOL Concept Challenge prime contractor, Collaboration Ai.

"In entering this next phase, Bell's teams will continue to lay the groundwork for the production of another revolutionary military aircraft and provide USSOCOM and the U.S. Air Force with conceptual designs and development roadmaps to accelerate this capability to the warfighter," said Jason Hurst, Bell's vice president of Innovation.

Editor's note: Gallery shows images of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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