Bell Eyes Pratt & Whitney-Made Engine as Auxiliary Power Unit for 360 Invictus

Textron’s Bell subsidiary plans to use a Pratt & Whitney-built helicopter engine as auxiliary power unit for its proposed helicopter design for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program, Vertical Magazine reported Tuesday.

Bell intends to use Pratt & Whitney’s Canada PW207D1 engine, which powers the Bell 429 helicopter, as a supplemental power unit for the 360 Invictus aircraft.

Boeing, Sikorsky, AVX Aircraft and Karem Aircraft are also competing for the service’s FARA program.

The Army plans to downselect the five bidders to two in March with plans to subject the two competitive prototypes to initial flight in September 2022. The service will select the winning plane by the end of 2023 and have the first aircraft by 2028.

“We looked at all the possible configurations for making vertical lift aircraft go faster, and we wanted to focus in on a technology or a harmonization of technologies that we could produce inside their cost objectives and on that timeline, giving the Army an insurance policy by providing a lower risk path to the capabilities,” Frank Lazzara, director of advanced vertical lift systems at Bell, said of the company’s proposed aircraft.

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