Bell Helicopter's V-280 Valor has reached 100 percent rotor RPMs during a tethered ground run test at the Bell Helicopter Amarillo Assembly Center. Construction was recently completed on the tiltrotor prototype, which is capable of reaching twice the speed and range of present helicopters, and system and flight control tests are now being run in the lead up to its first flight later this year.

Originally developed as part of the JMR-TD phase of the US Army's Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program, the V-280 is a next-generation tiltrotor aircraft designed to be lighter, simpler, and less expensive than the V-22 Osprey. Weight savings are achieved through the extensive use of composites in the fuselage, wing and tail, in the form of honeycomb sandwich configurations with large-cell carbon cores. This results in a 30 percent savings even with the integrated cabin armor.

The V-280 design also sees the engines moved away from the rotor nacelles for a simpler construction that allows both rotors to run on one engine in the event of an emergency. The Valor can carry a crew of two with 14 troops, has a cruising speed of 280 knots (320 mph; 520 km/h), combat range of up to 800 nm (920 mi, 1,481 km), and a total payload capacity of 12,000 lb (5,400 kg). It also has improved hover capability, topping at 6,000 ft (1,800 m) at 95º F (35 Cº).

The aircraft has triple redundant fly-by-wire flight controls and enhanced situational awareness and sensing capabilities that digitally fuse reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence, and friendly force information. In addition, it has two wide side doors for fast ingress and egress and a conventional retractable undercarriage.

The video below shows the V-280 Valor revving up.

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