Bell’s V-280 Tiltrotor Aircraft Conducts First Autonomous Flight

A tiltrotor aircraft built by Textron’s Bell subsidiary has completed its first autonomous flight test at the company’s facility in Arlington, Va., Defense News reported Thursday.

The V-280 Valor demonstrator aircraft performed two sorties last month as part of the exercise under the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration effort.

Ryan Ehinger, V-280 program manager at Bell, said the tiltrotor platform was able to perform autonomous vertical takeoff and landing functions during the assessment.

Bell facilitated V-280’s maiden flight in 2017 and conducted the first public demonstration for the aircraft a year later.

Work under the Army’s JMR-TD initiative will help inform the service’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program, which also includes the SB-1 Defiant compound helicopter built by a team consisting of Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky subsidiary.

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