Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has been selected to continue its work on the U.S. Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. As part of the selection, Bell is designing, manufacturing, and testing the Bell 360 Invictus, a prototype rotorcraft designed to provide improved lethality, survivability, and extended reach for Army aviation. This selection follows almost a full year of design and risk-reduction work by the Bell team as part of the initial contract phase.
Initiated following contract award in 2019, the Bell 360 advanced, scout aircraft design was revealed in October 2019.
"The selection of the Bell 360 Invictus to continue in the FARA program builds on our decades-long legacy as an innovator in reconnaissance rotorcraft supporting the maneuver force," said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell. "Our team has applied innovative thinking with tested technology to give the Army a low-risk option to fulfill its requirements on an aggressive schedule."
As part of the U.S. government's Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family of programs, the FARA competition seeks to test and acquire a next-generation attack reconnaissance aircraft on a rapid schedule. The Bell 360 addresses the requirements with a design optimized to achieve the performance, connectivity, sustainability, and reliability for soldiers to fight and operate in multi-domain operations. The aircraft is expected to meet or exceed the Army's requirements, using fly-by-wire flight controls, articulated rotor, and innovative blade design.
Bell is partnered with Collins Aerospace to integrate a new generation of avionics hardware and software featuring cyber-hardened and digital solutions.
To ensure the team stays on schedule and on budget, Bell is using a digital design-as-built process. The team can connect and collaborate in a real-time digital environment to ensure alignment among all trades to facilitate smoother manufacturing, improve sustainability characteristics, and mitigate schedule risks. This process has been used and refined on Bell commercial projects, as well as during the recent U.S. Army Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program that produced the Bell V-280 Valor.