Bell took the wraps off its long-anticipated entry into the U.S. Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program this morning. The two-seat aircraft is called the model 360 Invictus and it relies on what Bell calls "proven technologies," including a main rotor system design based on the Bell 525 Relentless super-medium civil twin currently in advanced flight test.
The Bell 360 will deliver advanced battlefield situational awareness, as well as lethal options, in support of the maneuver force at an affordable cost, said Vince Tobin, executive vice president of Military Business at Bell. Aircraft features include a cruise speed greater than 185 knots, a combat radius of 135 nm with greater than 90 minutes time on station, and the ability to hover out of ground effect (HOGE) at altitudes of 4,000 feet in 95 degree F temperatures. Other attributes include a lift-sharing fixed wing, a supplemental power unit to increase power during times of high demand, fly-by-wire flight controls, ducted tail rotor, and an articulating main rotor with high flapping capability to enable high speed flight.
The aircraft's stealth styling resembles that employed by the canceled (2004) Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche. Weapons include a 20 mm canon, integrated munitions launcher, advanced sensor technologies, and a modular open systems approach (MOSA) enabled by a "digital backbone" from Collins Aerospace.