SIG MMG 338 Program Series

US Army Selects Textron’s Bell V-280 Valor as Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft

Textron’s Bell V-280 Valor tilt-rotor has been selected by the US Army as its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft to eventually replace the Blackhawk fleet of helicopters.

Due to the tilt-rotor design the V-280 can fly at up to 280 knots with a combat range of up to 800 nm. It also carries more troops and cargo, with up to 14 troops and a max takeoff weight of over 30,000 lbs compared to 9 passengers and 22,000 lbs for the UH-60M.

The initial contract award is for $232 million but could be worth as much as $70 billion.

There will be an initial 19 month period of additional development and testing with a goal of fielding beginning in 2030.

The Army plans to initially buy 750 to 1,000 FLRAA examples and operate a mix of Blackhawks and Valors for decades. For those shocked by the decision to continue to use the Blackhawk, please remember that the Air Force has just begun to phase out it’s UH-1 Hueys that began service in the 1960s and the Marines have just completed an upgrade with their UH-1Y Venom.

10 Responses to “US Army Selects Textron’s Bell V-280 Valor as Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft”

  1. Chris says:

    Army plans to replace both Blackhawk & Apache with this. Interesting idea.

    • SSD says:

      No, Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft is the planned replacement for Kiowa and Apache.

      • Bob Saget says:

        Like the Hind-D?

      • Tom says:

        Wasn’t it supposed to be just as a replacement for Kiowa’s? If it has to replace Apache’s then it has to be a very different beast.

        • SSD says:

          The Army is sending mixed signals on this. They are claiming that the Apaches aren’t going away but also claiming that FARA is their initial assault attack helo.

  2. Sal says:


    I thought they weren’t gonna make a final selection until 2025. Sikorsky must’ve really shit the bed.

    Congrats to Bell. IMO they had the superior product and FLRAA was there’s to lose.

    • AbnMedOps says:

      Yeah, I would really like to see exactly why Sikorski’s concentric rotor system was not selected, inasmuch as it’s tighter footprint, mechanical (relative) simplicity, efficiency, and decades of concept-proven service (Russian Kamov, etc), should easily outclass this latest tilt-rotor monstrosity. Maybe it was Bell’s “turn” to win a gazzilion-dollar contract.

  3. Frank says:

    This is interesting. I spent a lot of times air assaulting/rappelling from the old Hueys. I recall seeing the wooden mock-up of the Blackhawk sitting a the parking lot at Main Post , Ft. Campbell [either the museum or library], in 1974.

    • SSD says:

      I’m not sure if we’ll be able to rappel or fast rope from the Valor.

      • SN says:

        I would bet on no fast rope or rappelling, the rotor down wash from tilt rotors is pretty severe (same probably goes for the CH-53K).

        Valor has a slightly larger “foot print” then the Blackhawk, and is about the same size as the 53K.