U.S. Army Selects Bell V-280 Valor For FLRAA Program


Bell Textron has been awarded a contract to develop its V-280 Valor tiltrotor for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. According to Bell, the initial contract will cover refining the weapon system design, sustainment, digital enterprise, manufacturing, systems integration, flight testing and airworthiness qualification. The Army launched FLRAA in 2019 to “replace a portion of its assault and utility helicopter fleet” with the goal of fielding the chosen aircraft by 2030 and eventually replacing the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

“We are honored that the U.S. Army has selected the Bell V-280 Valor as its next-generation assault aircraft,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly. “We intend to honor that trust by building a truly remarkable and transformational weapon system to meet the Army’s mission requirements. We are excited to play an important role in the future of Army Aviation.”

Bell developed the V-280 as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD) program, which began in 2013. The aircraft flew for the first time in 2017 and is expected to offer around twice the speed and range of the Army’s current fleet. The V-280’s sole competitor for FLRAA was the Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant X.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Any word about the fate of the Sikorsky Defiant? What were the key factors in the choice of the Valor instead?

  2. I worked at Bell during the V-280 and Bell was completed with all of its flight testing years before the Sikorsky even took its first flight. The Defiant is no where near as capable or as fast as the 280.

  3. I’ve always wanted ask: What happens when or if there is an engine failure to just one engine? This could be a bird strike, drone contact, mechanical, attack or even human error. What is “plan B?” Any weight on the main wing tips appears risky.

    • My understanding of the MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor is a driveshaft between engines coupling them together with a central gearbox. When one engine fails, the other engine will drive both rotors.

      • An annoying requirement from the design-engineering standpoint, but absolutely essential. Just imagine what it would be like if one of those huge thrust/drag producers suddenly went off-line!

        • If both props or both engines fail – there is no counter rotation or enough wing for a safe landing.

      • Sadly, on a vehicle like this, I guess there is no way to build in any redundancy in case one rotor/prop itself were to fail.

  4. The Osprey has been a notorious maintenance hog and killer aircraft with a checkered and dismal operational record. Lets hope they do a better job this time.