Meet the V-22 Osprey’s Little Brother, Bell’s Next Gen Tilt-Rotor

Bell Helicopter

AA Font size + Print

The V-22 Osprey is still proving itself in Afghanistan, but Bell Helicopter’s Keith Flail, director of future vertical lift, is readying a lighter, faster tilt rotor. By Kevin Baron

It took three decades but the V-22 Osprey, the unique tilt-rotor hybrid aircraft, has outlived the stigma of its deadly testing years, avoided Defense Secretary’s Dick Cheney’s budget axe and proven itself worthy on the battlefield.

The half helicopter, half airplane vehicle makes little news anymore. For Bell Helicopter, that’s good news. So, the end of the Afghanistan war couldn’t be a better time to start planning for the next generation tilt-rotor. Meet the V-280, a medium-lift concept aircraft that Keith Flail, Bell’s director of future vertical lift, said is the next best thing.

“This is exactly the kind of capability that DOD needs in the future,” Flail told Defense One, at the AUSA 2013 convention in Washington.

A life sized dummy of the concept vehicle was on display. The real version is expected to fly in 2017, and feature large side doors for quick off-loading — a criticism that hounded the rear-loading Osprey. It also will have a clearer field of vision from which to provide better ground cover fire, thanks to having a fixed engine instead of the large rotating engines at the props of the Osprey. The V-280 supposed to replace thousands of existing aircraft from utility props to attack helicopters, a cost saving idea eerily similar to the costly Joint Strike Fighter.

Flail said, “You can’t just look at the cost of the airplane, you have to look at the cost structure of everything else that it does: for operations and support costs, the resupply points on the ground, where you put your field hospitals, [and] how you move your troops around. That’s where you get the major impact with a system like this, because it ripples through so many elements of cost.”

Meanwhile, the original Osprey has just come into its own. The Marine Corps just bought another 99 of them, with an option to purchase even more.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Top 5 Findings: Security of Internet of Things To Be Mission-Critical

    As federal agencies increasingly leverage these capabilities, government security stakeholders now must manage and secure a growing number of devices, including those being used remotely at the “edge” of networks in a variety of locations. With such security concerns in mind, Government Business Council undertook an indepth research study of federal government leaders in January 2017. Here are five of the key takeaways below which, taken together, paint a portrait of a government that is increasingly cognizant and concerned for the future security of IoT.

  • Coordinating Incident Response on Posts, Camps and Stations

    Effective incident response on posts, camps, and stations is an increasingly complex challenge. An effective response calls for seamless conversations between multiple stakeholders on the base and beyond its borders with civilian law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This whitepaper discusses what a modern dispatch solution looks like -- one that brings together diverse channels and media, simplifies the dispatch environment and addresses technical integration challenges to ensure next generation safety and response on Department of Defense posts, camps and stations.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.