Bell V-280 Flies with Sling Loads

 - December 17, 2020, 11:39 AM
The Bell V-280 tiltrotor recently completed successful external sling load sorties. (Photo: Bell)

The Bell V-280 tiltrotor was recently flown with a new tactical common data link (TCDL) and completed external sling load sorties. During initial TCDL demonstrations, information was successfully transmitted between the aircraft and the ground station including basic flight data such as airspeed, altitude, and attitude.

With on-board sensors and TCDL, the V-280 could provide targeting information to enhance the lethality of precision long-range weapons. The V-280 also transmitted data collected by the Lockheed Martin Pilotage Distributed Aperture Sensor (PDAS) System that has been flying on the aircraft for nearly a year. The live transmission included video of the sling load cargo, allowing pilots, crew, and supervisors to monitor it as if looking through the bottom of the aircraft, whether on-board or on the ground. “These new test milestones continue to bring proof that the V-280 Valor is an agile platform able to deliver a wide variety of operationally relevant capabilities to warfighters,” said Keith Flail, Bell executive v-p for advanced vertical lift systems.  

The V-280 is a semi-finalist in the Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition, along with the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant compound helicopter, to replace UH-60 Black Hawks. Final down select is anticipated in 2022 with initial production aircraft becoming operational by 2030.