FORT WORTH, Texas, May 6 (UPI) -- The wing and nacelles of Bell Helicopter's next-generation tiltrotor demonstrator have been attached to the aircraft's fuselage, the company reports.
The component attachment to the V-280 Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator, or JMR-TD, took place recently at the company's aircraft assembly center in Amarillo, Texas.
"The V-280 wing, nacelles and fuselage are now assembled into the aircraft we've designed as the next generation tiltrotor," said Lisa Atherton, executive vice president of Military Business Development for Bell Helicopter. "This is a major milestone."
The V-280 Valor is designed to provide agility, speed, range, and payload capabilities at an affordable cost for the U.S. military. First flight for the fixed-wing, vertical takeoff-and-landing demonstrator is expected to occur in September 2017.
Bell Helicopters is confident the V-280 program will then be able to enter the full scale Engineering, Manufacturing and Development phase of the program.
"The V-280 tiltrotor is designed with technology advancements that significantly reduce risk and cost, allowing the Department of Defense to field future vertical lift to the warfighter far earlier than previously anticipated," Atherton said. "We have improved the manufacturing processes to arrive at a revolutionary aircraft with reduced sustainment costs and simplified maintenance procedures."
The V-280 has an anticipated cruise speed of 280 knots and a combat range of between 500 and 800 nautical miles.
Bell said V-280 will perform a tethered power-up at the Bell Helicopter facility in Amarillo in the first half of 2017.