Bell annunces 360 Invictus for US Army FARA Competition

Bell 360 Invictus Army FARA
Bell 360 Invictus.

On October 2, 2019 Bell Textron Inc. announced a new rotorcraft, Bell 360 Invictus, as the company’s entrant for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program. According to the company, the innovative approach to designing the Bell 360 Invictus combines proven low-risk technologies with advanced processes to deliver soldiers an affordable, agile and lethal solution to win on the modern battlefield.

“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. “The multi-domain fight will be complex, and our team is delivering a highly capable, low-risk solution to confidently meet operational requirements with a sustainable fleet.”

Bell says that the 360 Invictus’ design emphasizes exceptional performance using proven technologies to fulfill the Army’s FARA requirements at an affordable cost and on schedule such as the Invictus’ rotor system. Its design is based on Bell’s 525 Relentless rotor system which has been tested and proven at speeds in excess of 200 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS).

Some of the key 360 Invictus features include:

- Lift-sharing wing to reduce rotor lift demand in forward flight, enabling high-speed maneuverability
- Supplemental Power Unit increases performance during high power demands
- Robust articulated main rotor with high flapping capability enabling high speed flight
- Fly-by-wire flight control system—synthesizes technologies, reduces pilot workload and provides a path to autonomous flight
- Speed: >185 KTAS
- Combat radius: 135nm with >90 minutes of time on station
- Achieves 4k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE)
- Armed with a 20 mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher with ability to integrate air-launched effects, and future weapons, as well as current inventory of munitions
- Provisioned for enhanced situational awareness and sensor technologies
- Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) enabled by a Digital Backbone from Collins Aerospace
- Robust design integrating lifecycle supportability processes early to ensure high OPTEMPO availability in multi-domain operations
- Design-as-built manufacturing model and digital thread enabled tools to enhance affordability, reliability, and training throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft

"Bell is committed to providing the U.S. Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, least complex, and lowest risk solution among the potential FARA configurations, while meeting all requirements," said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “360 Invictus is an exciting opportunity for us to continue our support of Army modernization. This is the next solution to ensure soldiers have the best equipment available for the multi-domain fight.”

The design of Bell 360 Invictus is based on the company's experience in providing attack and reconnaissance aircraft to the warfighter, such as Kiowa Warrior, on Bell's commercial innovations and success in the development and manufacturing capabilities required for Future Vertical Lift (FVL) as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) over the past six years.

Source, Image: Bell Textron

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