Here’s the Bell 360 Invictus Coming Together As Army’s Future Attack Helicopter

Bell 360 Invictus 7 photos
Photo: Bell
Bell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 Invictus
Over the coming decade, the face of the American military, and most importantly the tools used for waging war, will change significantly. The armed forces are engaged in efforts on multiple fronts to modernize pretty much everything, and some results of these efforts are already begging to surface.
One of those fronts is that of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). The program aims to come up with a replacement for the Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter, retired by the U.S. Army back in 2014 following several decades of service.

A couple of years ago, the Army selected five companies to develop the FARA helicopter, namely AVX, Bell, Boeing, Karem, and Sikorsky. The plan is to have a prototype in the air sometime in 2022, and by the look of things, work on these machines is progressing as planned.

This week, one of the companies working on the prototypes, Bell, gave the world an update on its progress. Its machine, called 360 Invictus, is quickly being put together in the company’s facilities.

Work on the prototype Invictus began in late 2020, and the thing is already getting its distinctive shape. The fuselage, main rotor blades, gearbox assembly, cases and other components are already mostly in place. At the same time, the main rotor gearbox, driveshafts and couplings are currently being put through their paces.

Like all other competitors in the FARA program, once ready the Bell helicopter will have to become something the Army calls a knife fighter. There are few mechanical restrictions to what the builders are allowed to do, except for rotor diameter and fuselage width, which must not exceed 40 feet (12 meters).

The Invictus will be powered by a General Electric engine as the main powerplant, but a Pratt & Whitney unit will also be on deck to supply extra power. The aircraft should be capable of reaching speeds of 210 mph (330 kph).

Bell did not say how much work lies ahead before the 360 Invictus is ready.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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