Bell’s Invictus practically 90% full, ready on engine

Bell’s 360 Invictus superior helicopter is nearing the end line, because the plane is now 87 p.c full, the producer confirmed throughout a March 7 press convention at HAI Heli-Expo 2022 in Dallas, Texas.

The newest replace comes roughly one month after Bell shared that the brand new open tail rotor system had been connected to the Invictus prototype. The plane’s preliminary design featured a canted, ducted tail rotor. Nevertheless, Bell opted to fully reconfigure the tail increase construction to enhance weight, effectivity, and efficiency.

Invictus, which is Bell’s providing for the U.S. Military’s Future Assault Reconnaissance Plane (FARA) program, is presently present process load testing at Bell’s manufacturing facility in Amarillo, Texas.

Carl Coffman, vp of Bell’s army gross sales and methods, informed reporters that the corporate is aiming for a primary flight by the third quarter of 2023, however that purpose will rely upon the supply of the ITEP engine. (ITEP is the Basic Electrical T901 Improved Turbine Engine chosen for the FARA program.)

Coffman mentioned Bell is anticipating the engine to reach in November this yr, however “if it continues to get pushed, then that can proceed to have an effect on the schedule,” he added.

Within the meantime, Bell has what Coffman known as a “surrogate” engine for Invictus, which is actually a 3D printed engine that has allowed the corporate to finish kind match exams.

“We’re doing every part we are able to do proper now to . . . keep on observe,” mentioned Coffman. “As soon as we get the engine, every part shall be in line; we’ll simply have an area within the plane for the engine to go.”

Bell’s Invictus practically 90% full, ready on engine

The engine is to be mounted aft and to the left of the principle rotor hub. Reverse to that shall be a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D1, which can act as a supplemental energy unit.

As per U.S. Military velocity necessities, the tandem-cockpit, single-main-rotor Bell 360 Invictus is designed to fly at the very least 180 knots

. The plane’s foremost rotor system is predicated on Bell’s 525 Relentless helicopter — which has flown at speeds past 200 knots in take a look at flights — however shall be scaled to suit the Invictus. Whereas the Bell 525 has 5 rotor blades, the 360 Invictus could have 4.

Bell is competing towards Sikorsky and its Raider X helicopter within the FARA contest. The Raider X is a compound-coaxial helicopter with counter-spinning foremost rotors and a pusher propeller.