Textron’s Bell has announced its collaboration with GE Aerospace to develop a range of digital systems for the upcoming Black Hawk utility helicopter successor, the Bell V-280 Valor. The partnership will involve the creation of a common open-architecture digital backbone, a voice-and-data recorder, and a health-awareness network for predictive maintenance.
The U.S. Army had previously chosen Bell’s tiltrotor aircraft over the Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant X for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft project. The development of this successor is considered one of the Army’s biggest and most complex competitive procurements. Following the Army’s decision, the Government Accountability Office denied a formal protest, allowing Bell production to proceed.
GE Aerospace’s work on the digital systems will significantly enhance the update and maintenance capabilities of the aircraft, providing an advantage for soldiers on the battlefield. The company’s experience in delivering open avionics architecture will ensure that the benefits of modular open systems approach designs are incorporated into the Future Vertical Lift programs. This initiative aims to modernize Army aviation, with a focus on improving attack, transport, and reconnaissance missions.
Bell is expected to deliver prototypes of the Black Hawk successor to the Army 2025. The initial contract, valued at $232 million, includes the option for additional funding up to a ceiling of $1.3 billion.
This collaboration between Textron’s Bell and GE Aerospace highlights the importance of digital systems in the advancement of military aircraft. With the integration of advanced technologies, the future Black Hawk successor will provide enhanced capabilities and maintenance efficiency for the U.S. Army.
– Original article: [source]
– Colin Demarest, C4ISRNET, [source]