Spirit AeroSystems' first Bell V-280 Valor fuselage. (Photo courtesy PRNewsFoto/Spirit AeroSystems Inc.)
Spirit AeroSystems' first Bell V-280 Valor fuselage. (Photo courtesy PRNewsFoto/Spirit AeroSystems Inc.)

Spirit AeroSystems Inc has completed the first fuselage made of composite materials for Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor.

The helicopter unit was designed and assembled in Spirit's rapid prototyping facility in Wichita, Kansas, in just 22 months. The composite fuselage is being prepped to ship to Bell's Amarillo, Texas, facility for final assembly.

The contract is part of the US Army-led JMR-TD program,  the science and technology precursor to the Department of Defense's Future Vertical Lift program, which aims to replace 2,000 to 4,000 medium-class utility and attack helicopters. The V-280 Valor is Bell Helicopter's offering for the JMR-TD program. The Bell advanced technology tiltrotor reportedly has improved speed, range and payload for expeditionary maneuvering. 

‘Spirit AeroSystems is proud to be an investing member of Team Valor with 10 other premier aerospace companies.’said Phil Anderson, Spirit senior vice president of Spirit Defense.’ Together we are helping the Department of Defense inform requirements and reduce risk on a new development program.’

The V-280 is scheduled to make its first flight in the second half of 2017.

This story is reprinted from material from Spirit AeroSystems, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.