By Helicopters Staff
Bell Textron Inc. announced agreements with nine aerospace companies to form what it is calling Team Invictus. The companies, listed below, are producing the Bell 360 Invictus prototype submission as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, which aims to procure a new rotorcraft platform.
The Bell 360 Invictus program was unveiled in October 2019. The Army’s FARA schedule targets first flights from both Bell and Sikorsky for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2022, with the goal of fielding aircraft in 2028. Sikorsky was the second company chosen to continue its development for the FARA program, which at one point also included bidders AVX Aircraft, Boeing and Karem Aircraft.
“Team Invictus is working together to show how cutting-edge technology will give soldiers the ability to confidently operate in the complex and contested battlespace of multi-domain operations,” said Chris Gehler, vice president and program director for FARA at Bell. “Future Vertical Lift is critical for the Army’s ability to win in multi-domain operations with FARA defeating defensive layers and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) exploiting opened areas to achieve operational objectives.”
Bell notes Team Invictus is applying digital design and manufacturing technologies, including maintenance as part of the design process. The corporate members of Team Invictus working to deliver the 360 Invictus prototype, as described in part by Bell below, include:
- Astronics Corporation for a modular framework of airframe power generation, conversion and distribution products;
- Collins Aerospace for integration of avionics hardware and software featuring cyber-hardened and digital backbone solutions to configure and integrate mission systems;
- GE Aviation for the 3,000-SHP T901 engine and working on the aircraft Health Awareness System (HAS);
- ITT-Enidine for the passive Liquid Inertia Vibration Eliminator (LIVE) units for all modes of operation, including high speed;
- L3Harris Technologies for the WESCAM MX-15D, a stabilized multi-sensor, multi-spectral imaging and targeting system;
- Parker Lord for rotor dampers, the main rotor CF bearing, the tail rotor tension torsion strap, and the Active Vibration Control (AVC) System;
- Mecaer Aviation Group for a fully retractable, tail dragger landing gear system;
- MOOG for flight control computer (FCC) electronics, software, and flight control actuation, critical components of the Bell fly-by-wire, Flight Control System (FCS); and
- TRU Simulation + Training for a high-fidelity flight simulator that gives pilots a true sense of the aircraft flight controls.