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Bell Unveils V-247 UAS

The most amazing thing I saw at Modern Day Marine was the new Bell V-247 which is intended as a candidate for the US Marine Corps’ Marine Air Ground Task Force – Unmanned Expeditionary Capabilities (MUX) program. They set up an extension of the tent in order to House the aircraft. But based on public interest, it was difficult to photograph it completely.

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Based on development of the tilt-rotor V-22 and V-280, the V-247 is an unmanned system optimized for hover over speed in order to be used for persistent 24-hour ISR coverage as well as aerial fires. It can also be used as an armed escort for the two troop transport tilt-rotors.

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It boasts more than 8 hours on station with 600 lbs of payload at a 450 nm mission radius and up to 1300 nm or 12 hours maximum on station. The service ceiling is 25,000 ft with no concern for an environmental system for a crew. The total payload is 2,000 internal or 9,000 lbs payload. The cruise speed is 240 kts and over 300 kts at max power.

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The V-247 has the same shipboard footprint of a UH-1Y and can be operated from a Guided Missile Destroyer or larger ship.

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17 Responses to “Bell Unveils V-247 UAS”

  1. TominVA says:

    The footprint of a UH-1Y is still a lot of deck space for something that can’t even carry Marines. If there is a lot of parts and maintenance commonality with the V-22, that would ease the pain. They’re gonna have to play with this thing a lot to see how it works best, especially in the armed escort role. Any word on the price tag compared to the V-22?

    • SSD says:

      I’d say that it’s strength is that it doesn’t carry Marines. Consequently, it can fly longer and carry more payload. What’s more, no Marine is out in harms way.

      • TominVA says:

        But what sort of payload? Is this strictly ISR and weapons? Could it land and drop of chow, water and ammo? Or drop it from the air?

        Deck space is some seriously – and I mean SERIOUSLY – premium real estate, even on big deck amphibs. No pilots and no Marines would suggest an expandability we would never associate with an aircraft this size, especially for the cost in deck space.

        is this thing real? Is there even a prototype that actually flies?

        • SSD says:

          This offers a capability they currently don’t have. Additionally, it can sling load 9,000 lbs.

          It’s not flying yet, but it will. The technology is sound.

          • Hubb says:

            The USMC has good experience using the unmanned KMAX helicopter to move cargo by slingload around Afghanistan. I think this aircraft will be great in a permissive environment….and they won’t be burning up airframe hours on the manned platforms.

          • theDude says:

            I would think one of these as an alternate model with a pod or cabin for one or two people would make a great medevac system in order to shorten that golden hour and get the injured out and augment current capabilities. Maybe even an automated oxygen / defib system to monitor vitals and report back on what the medical team is about to receive.

      • arche says:

        Agreed. Tiltrotors have some advantages (speed and range) and most of the disadvantages have to do with survivability and pax transport limitations. V22 coming in to an LZ versus a 47 or 53 is agonizing: they are slow and exposed for a long time and can’t turn as quickly while transitioning. V22 loyalists can dwell on the fact that they were able to outrun their escort, launch further away and arrive sooner….awesome, unless you get shot down during the linear tortoise-like approach to and exit from LZ. My guess is that an unmanned variant will overcome this, unmanned = more expednable, and will benefit from not having all the RDTE scrutiny and addt’l rqmts that come with pilots and passengers.

  2. Hubb says:

    I see a lot of potential for this aircraft. An unmanned multi-role tilt-rotor aircraft with long endurance. The biggest design flaw I see is that the rotors have to be rotated up in the “helicopter mode” to launch forward firing missiles. Maybe Griffin A missiles would work here.

    • Will Rodriguez says:

      There may be a way to tweak missiles to fall away from the aircraft before the engine ignites avoiding the prop.

      • AbnMedOps says:

        Or something like the machine gun/propeller synchronizer gear, like Fokker invented back during The World War. Although, rockets start out slower than bullets…

      • Adun says:

        Maybe adding some kind of kicker (name?) system like we see with the F-22? The simpler option would definitely be to delay the activation of the missiles to a point below the rotors though for sure.

  3. Matt says:

    If this works as intended, Marine Expeditionary grunts will surely appreciate having overhead fire support with extended loiter times. Especially given the realistic limitations of jet aircraft for close fires. That’s worth the deck space.

  4. Scott says:

    I wonder if Sikorsky is considering something based on their S-97 for this program. I personally think coaxial rotors are going to turn out to be a better technology than tilt-rotor, and so far they seem to be getting good results.

  5. b_rawrd says:

    Every year we grow closer to becoming the last generation of human soldiers. I think the final focus on unmanned warfare will occur when modern soldiers are engaged by UGVs. It wont matter how many UGVs are destroyed, people will focus on the human loss of life.

  6. John says:

    Turn those propellers into jets and you are looking at the Hunter-Killer flying machines Skynet used in Terminator.

  7. GreenTip556 says:

    So….Terminator Hunter-Killers are a real thing now….this is how the Ris of the Machines starts….Austrian murder-bots inbound….