Army Chooses Bell V-280 to Replace Its Black Hawk Helicopters
By Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One
Bell beat the Defiant-X pitched, a compound coaxial helicopter offered by a Sikorsky-Boeing team.
The U.S. Army has chosen Bell to build a new aircraft that will replace the venerable UH-60 Black Hawk, which has been flying soldiers in combat since the 1970s.
Bell received a $232 million contract on Monday—the first installment of what could be a $7.1 billion deal for development and an initial batch of aircraft.
“It’s a chance to move to the next step in this vital program,” Doug Bush, the Army acquisition chief, said during a Monday evening call with reporters.
It’s a huge win that could be worth more than $70 billion for the Textron-owned company in the coming decades depending on how many aircraft are ordered by the Army and foreign militaries.
“For Textron, it is a generational win that rejuvenates Bell’s military franchise,” Cowen analyst Roman Schweizer wrote in an Oct. 12 note to investors.
Bell, which pitched the V-280, a tiltrotor aircraft similar to the V-22 Osprey, beat a Sikorsky-Boeing team that had proposed a coaxial helicopter, which uses two stack rotors that spin in opposite directions providing more stability than traditional helicopters.
The tiltrotor can takeoff and land vertically like a helicopter, but rotate its propellers forward allowing it to fly at fixed-wing aircraft speeds.
“The V-280’s unmatched combination of proven tiltrotor technology coupled with innovative digital engineering and an open architecture offers the Army outstanding operational versatility for its vertical lift fleet,” Bell said in an emailed statement.