FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Bell Helicopter's effort to build a third-generation tilt-rotor, vertical-lift aircraft has been joined by Lockheed Martin.
With the move, Lockheed Martin becomes the first tier-one team member for the V-280 Valor program.
"We are very excited about teaming with Lockheed Martin on the V-280," said John Garrison, president and chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter. "Lockheed Martin is a premier defense and aerospace contracting company celebrating 100 years of success. Their experience and innovation, combined with their strong business relationships serving their customers at the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies, will help us provide the highest levels of maturity and technical readiness required for future vertical lift missions."
The V-280 program was announced earlier this year. Bell is offering it to the U.S. Army for the service's Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program.
Bell said the V-280 Valor will be able to perform "a multitude of missions with unparalleled speed, range and agility."
A Bell Boeing partnership produces the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, which is used by the U.S. Marines and Air Force as a transport aircraft. Bell Boeing recently tested an Osprey for aerial refueling missions.
"We made the strategic decision to invest in a mission system and provide Bell Helicopter with this leap-ahead combat capability on the V-280 Valor," said Dale P. Bennett, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. "The U.S. government and Lockheed Martin have created affordable yet highly advanced mission equipment packages for numerous aircraft that can be leveraged to provide an affordable and effective solution for the future vertical lift program.
"Our efforts will allow the U.S. Army to take advantage of the advanced technology and maturity we've achieved in integrated avionics, sensors and weapons."