Bell updates progress of Bell 360 Invictus build
By Helicopters Staff
Bell Textron Inc. released new data on the build and testing for the Bell 360 Invictus competitive prototype. The company explains its Bell 360 program is rapidly progressing through manufacturing, assembly, components testing, and systems integration work for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.
The program team has completed multiple design and risk reviews with the Army and is on schedule for all program requirements. Bell describes the 360 Invictus as a low-risk, high-speed platform leveraging proven technology and reliable designs, being designed to deliver soldiers transformational operational capabilities at an affordable cost.
“This team is achieving great results responding to requirements, reducing programmatic risk, and delivering state-of-the-art capabilities for the Army,” said Chris Gehler, vice president and program director for the Bell 360 Invictus. “We are combining Bell’s unique knowledge of the demands placed on scout aircraft with engineering and technical expertise to give the Army a weapon system to dominate attack reconnaissance missions for decades to come.”
Since beginning the build in late-2020, Bell explains it has made significant progress on the Bell 360 Invictus fuselage, main rotor blades, gearbox assembly, cases, and other high-value components. By implementing a design-as-built methodology that digitally connects the entire program throughout its lifecycle, Bell explains it has increased the ability to collaborate in real-time with program partners and the Army.
Along with assembling the Bell 360 Invictus, high-value components such as the main rotor gearbox, driveshafts and couplings are being tested at Bell’s Drive Systems Test Lab (DSTL). The DSTL is used to carry out risk-reduction efforts, explains Bell, that ensure the program has accurate and verified data to qualify components in advance of flight test.
A new FARA-specific Systems Integration Lab (SIL) is also operational at Bell. This facility allows Bell to integrate flight-critical components, software, and mission systems for testing, verification, and validation of functionality before they take flight on an actual aircraft.
“The Bell 360 Invictus is an exciting aircraft that brings sophisticated digital systems together in a high-speed, reliable, maintainable vehicle for austere environments around the world,” said Jayme Gonzalez, program manager, Bell 360 Invictus. “The Bell 360 offers the Army the ability to modernize using simplified and inherently reliable designs to reduce costs and deliver enhanced effectiveness for the Army.”