Earlier this week, we got an inside look at the Army’s new V-280 Valor, and it sports a cockpit seemingly ripped straight out of a science fiction video game.
Last December, the Army announced that Bell’s V-280 Valor won the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition, aimed at fielding a modern replacement for the legendary UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Bell brought an example of their new tilt-rotorcraft to October’s massive conference held by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) and allowed attendees to climb aboard for a closer look at its interior.
The V-280 is designed to serve as a medium-lift infantry utility platform that will offer a huge leap in capability over the Black Hawk in several important areas. With a top speed of 305 knots (approximately 350 miles per hour), the Valor is faster than the Black Hawk by more than 100 miles per hour. It also offers a combat range of around 900 miles, almost three times that of the UH-60. And it promises to do all that while carrying as much as 25% more weight on board than the Black Hawk.
While the Valor can support a variety of interior layouts, the version depicted at the AUSA conference included seating for 14 troops, two gunners in the back, and two pilots in the front. Despite a difference in seat layout between the V-280 and Black Hawk, the troop compartment of the V-280 harbors a familiar, cramped, and utilitarian aesthetic.
But the modernity available in this all-new design becomes all the more apparent when you take a look inside the cockpit.
Sporting a massive color touchscreen, the V-280 could potentially offer a huge degree of situational awareness for pilots, allowing them to even fly in near-blackout conditions. This display, integrated with a variety of sensors on the rotorcraft’s nose and body, can display a variety of vital system information, a representation of the battlespace around the aircraft, and much more.
However, this is just one possible cockpit layout the V-280 Valor may ultimately come with. As Bell explained at AUSA, the final form of the Valor’s cockpit will be dictated by the U.S. Army’s needs.
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