Sierra Nevada to Help Build Bell’s Next-Gen Vertical Takeoff and Landing Military Aircraft

Bell HSVTOL 9 photos
Photo: Bell
Bell HSVTOLBell HSVTOLBell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 InvictusBell 360 Invictus
The future of aerial transport, be it for civilian or military purposes, is without a doubt centered on vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. But whereas civilian machines are rather simple in scope and function (and many of them are coming), military ones have to be a lot more complex, and just a few are in development.
Helicopter giant Bell is one of the companies working on such machines for the military. Its solution for the military’s VTOL needs is called High-Speed Vertical Takeoff and Landing (HSVTOL), and it’s supposed to “blend the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed, range and survivability features of fighter aircraft.” Kind of like the existing Osprey, only a lot better.

The company is currently one of eleven entities part of the AFWERX HSVTOL Concept Challenge, run by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

Its HSVTOL, whose exact specs are not known at the moment, will be designed and developed with the help of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), Bell announced this week.

As part of the requirements of the challenge, the aircraft should be capable of reaching speeds, when in airplane mode, of 460 mph (740 kph). It also should pack technologies that should allow it to perform a wide range of missions, including personnel recovery, contested logistics, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), and even strike.

“SNC is delighted to join Bell’s HSVTOL development team, and we are already hard at work to deliver the visionary mission systems that Bell demands for their visionary aircraft,” said in a statement Derek Hess, vice president, strategic program business development at SNC. “Our nation’s warfighters will benefit from this HSVTOL program’s ground-breaking operational capabilities.”

Aside for Bell, the AFWERX HSVTOL Concept Challenge includes as competitors Valkyrie Systems Aerospace, Piasecki, and Jetoptera, among others.
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Editor's note: Gallery also shows the Bell 360 Invictus attack helicopter, also being developed with SNC.

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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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