FORT WORTH, Texas, June 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has shortlisted Bell Helicopter's V-280 tilt-rotor aircraft design for its Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program.
The V-280 is Bell's third-generation, tilt-rotor concept. It reportedly will have a cruising speed of 320 mph, a range of 2,400 miles and a combat range of 580 to 920 miles.
Features include a triple redundant fly-by-wire flight control system and conventional, retractable landing gear.
The Army has classified the V-280 as Category I, meaning the design is well-conceived and scientifically or technically sound in regard to Army program goals and objectives.
The Army's JMR-TD program is a major step in advance of the Department of Defense's Future Vertical Lift program expected to replace 2000 to 4000 medium class utility and attack helicopters. That program has an expected value of $100 billion.
A key capability the military is seeking in a new fleet of rotor aircraft is a speed of more than 264 mph.
An offering by Boeing and Sikorsky, which teamed for the program, has also been shortlisted by the Army.
Demonstrator aircraft are expected to take to the air for testing by 2017.