21 July 2020 – Rolls-Royce has reached agreement with Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, to provide the propulsion system for the V-280 Valor aircraft as it moves forward in the competition for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) Program.
Rolls-Royce will provide the propulsion solution for the refined V-280 Valor design as well as an advanced Infrared Suppressor system to deliver greater range and enhanced survivability to the Army. Through early collaboration on the system from the inlet to the suppressor, Bell and Rolls-Royce will deliver a low-risk and reliable integrated propulsion solution to the Army.
Adam Riddle, Rolls-Royce Defense, Executive Vice President, Business Development and Future Programs, said, “Rolls-Royce is excited to be a part of the Bell V-280 Team Valor to compete in the U.S. Army FLRAA program. Rolls-Royce brings a wealth of tilt-rotor and infrared suppressor experience to Team Valor, as well as over 50 years of successful collaboration with Bell.”
The contract comes at an exciting time as Rolls-Royce completes an investment of over $600 million in modernization and technology programs in Indiana, including state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing at its Indianapolis facilities. This multi-year investment further strengthens the company as a leader in the aerospace manufacturing industry for decades to come, which will benefit the Army’s important new FLRAA program.
Ryan Ehinger, Bell, Vice President and Program Director for FLRAA, said, “We are excited to work with Rolls-Royce to deliver a propulsion system that integrates game-changing performance with lifecycle affordability from the start to help our customers achieve their goals. Bell and Team Valor members are applying our collective vertical flight expertise to create aircraft capable of delivering a transformational capability to soldiers.”
In addition to extensive experience with defense and commercial aircraft, Rolls-Royce also designed and supports an advanced infrared suppressor system that has been in operation with Army MH-47 special operations helicopters for more than a decade, and a variant of that infrared suppression system recently entered service on Air Force AC-130W gunships.
The next phase of the FLRAA program will include competitive demonstration and risk reduction. By combining Bell’s advanced aircraft and two years of V-280 flight testing, along with decades of tilt-rotor propulsion experience from Rolls-Royce, Team Valor will bring an advanced, competitive weapon system to the FLRAA program.
Bell manages collaboration and integration with twelve leading companies that make up Team Valor to enable rapid production, systems integration, and deliberate program schedule to validate the V-280’s flight capabilities and operational relevance. The V-280 demonstrator has achieved all Bell program goals, flying for more than 170 hours, flying 300 knots, demonstrating low speed agility, as well as performing initial autonomous flight, informing Army FLRAA requirements.
Photo courtesy Bell-Boeing