Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor flew for the first time on Monday 18 December 2017 from their facility in Amarillo, Texas.
The demonstrator aircraft is part of the Joint Multi-role Helicopter (JMR) Program, which Bell finished building in September, and had been doing restrained and then unrestrained ground runs up until this week.
The V-280 Valor is a technology demonstrator for the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program which will inform the design of a Future Vertical Lift (FVL) helicopter fleet expected to enter service in the 2030s and replace the existing fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook, and OH-58 Kiowa helicopter. The objective of the FVL fleet will be to go twice as fast, twice as far with increased agility and flexible payloads.
The way the US Army is approaching the JMR program will probably serve as a model for future major acquisition programs where prototyping is done early on and leads to the faster delivery of more capable and reliable weapon systems.