The Bell V-280 Valor is a part of the United States Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. The Valor looks promising, and is being touted as having twice the speed and twice the range of current helicopters. In a demonstration held in Amarillo, Texas, the Valor did two passes, one at 170 knots and the other at 175 knots (about 201 miles per hour). The top speed is reported to be 195 knots cruising speed, though the company’s goal is to reach 280 knots before production. The aircraft is also designed to decelerate from its top speed to land in vertical mode in just one minute—the possibilities for rapid deployment at those speeds are enormous.
Like its predecessor, the V-22 Osprey, the Valor utilizes tiltrotor technology. It can get to its destination faster and go farther than a helicopter, but it also offers increased mobility at low speeds as well as a greater payload. But it’s not just a troop transport—it can carry a crew of four and 14 troops—the Valor is also an impressive gun ship.
Bell’s test pilot, Don Grove, who has extensive experience flying the Osprey, said, “You know, the V-22, I love that aircraft, but it’s more of a truck. [V-280] is more of a sports car and the agility in this thing, both in low speed…but even how agile it is in cruise mode, is really, I think, in all honesty, we don’t need as much agility as we have right now.”