Military

Bell unveils 360 Invictus attack helicopter

Bell unveils 360 Invictus atta...
Artist's rendering of the Bell 360 Invictus
Artist's rendering of the Bell 360 Invictus
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Artist's rendering of the Bell 360 Invictus
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Artist's rendering of the Bell 360 Invictus
The Bell 360 Invictus is one of five candidates for replacing the Bell Kiowa Warrior
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The Bell 360 Invictus is one of five candidates for replacing the US Army's Bell Kiowa Warrior attack helicopters

Bell has taken the wraps off its new rotorcraft for the US Army, the Bell 360 Invictus. The company's entrant in the Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program, the 360 Invictus is intended as a specialized attack helicopter tasked with inserting small special forces teams behind hostile lines.

The 360 Invictus is one of five competing designs from Bell, AVX Aircraft, Boeing, Karem Aircraft, and Sikorsky to replace the Army's fleet of Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. To meet or exceed the competition requirements and timeline, Bell drew on its experience on the Kiowa Warrior as well as the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) project as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) to produce a small, inexpensive streamlined airframe.

Key to this is the Invictus' fully articulated rotor system, which is derived from the Bell 525 Relentless rotor that can operate at a speed of over 200 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS) (230 mph, 370km/h) and gives the 360 Invictus a performance cruise speed of over 185 KTAS (213 mph, 343 km/h), while a lift-sharing wing takes some of the stress off the rotor to allow for high-speed maneuvering.

The Bell 360 Invictus is one of five candidates for replacing the Bell Kiowa Warrior
The Bell 360 Invictus is one of five candidates for replacing the US Army's Bell Kiowa Warrior attack helicopters

According to the specifications, the 360 Invictus has a combat range of 135 nm (155 mi, 250 km) with an on-station time of 90 minutes and 1,400 lb (640 kg) of payload. In addition, it can hover out of ground effect at 4,000 ft (1,200 m) in 90° F (33° C) temperatures. There is a supplemental power unit to handle high-power demands and an upgradable fly-by-wire flight control system for greater agility.

As to armaments, the 360 Invictus has a 20-mm cannon, an integrated munitions launcher, air-launched effects integration, and can ship the present US Army weapons inventory. This is backed up by an enhanced situational awareness and sensor suite.

"The Bell 360 will deliver advanced battlefield situational awareness, as well as lethal options, in support of the maneuver force at an affordable cost," says 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."

The US Army's FARA Competitive Prototype program is using fast-tracked development to get the successor of the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters into service by 2030.

Source: Textron

6 comments
guzmanchinky
Very cool looking machine, but it says it's supposed to be able to put small special forces teams behind enemy lines, where are they supposed to sit? Or am I misinterpreting that?
mediabeing
Well that's odd. We keep getting shown artist's conceptions of an attack copter with a pushing prop at the back, but we never see one in real life. I wonder why that is. More military industrial complex foolishness, I wager.
robertswww
@guzmanchinky Since this is an attack helicopter with tandem seating only for the pilot and gunner, it must be used to provide cover for another aircraft that will bring the troops in behind enemy lines. I agree that the article could have made it more clear.
Gregg Eshelman
There was one of these already fully developed and essentially ready to be put into production, then the government axed the project. The Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing%E2%80%93Sikorsky_RAH-66_Comanche Note how much this Bell concept resembles it.
ljaques
That's a pretty beasty! mediabeing, you're thinking of the Sikorsky coaxial X2 with a pusher on the back.
Elihu
ljaques - Sadly the RAH-66 Comanche was a casualty of the War on Terror. But they died an honorable death alongside most of what would have been the F-22 fleet and the Army's M-2001 Crusader SPG.