Speaking before an audience of aviation and military experts assembled at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, unveiled the Bell V-247 Vigilant tiltrotor.
The Bell V-247 tiltrotor is an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) that will combine the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. The revolutionary UAS is designed to provide unmatched long-endurance persistent expeditionary and surveillance capability and lethal reach, as well as runway independence to operate successfully in maritime environments and locations without secure runway availability.
The Bell V-247 Vigilant satisfies the comprehensive spectrum of capabilities outlined in the 2016 Marine Corps Aviation Plan, and could be available for production as early as 2023. The Bell V-247 Vigilant is a solution designed to address the evolving demands of the military and transportation sectors for unmanned aircraft for a shipborne UAS platform, including:
- The ability to operate successfully without a runway, such as in maritime environments
- Seamless performance in locations without secure runway availability, such as at shrinking land bases in contested areas
- Significant reduction of the logistical footprint while retaining the superior operational performance by combining the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft
- The capacity to control the battle space effectively with 24-hour intelligence provided by unmatched long-endurance persistent expeditionary and surveillance capability
A Group 5 UAS, the Bell V-247 Vigilant is designed to combine unparalleled capability with unprecedented flexibility to execute a wide array of mission sets, including electronic warfare, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), escort, C4 (Command, Control, Communications, and Computers), persistent fire missions and tactical distribution. The UAS is expected to accomplish all of this with the benefits of extended endurance through plug-and-play mission packages.
“The Bell V-247 Vigilant is the next leap in innovation making the future of aviation a reality today. At Bell Helicopter, we are constantly challenging the traditional notion of what it means to fly by staying on the leading edge of aviation and technological development. The unmanned tiltrotor is the latest example of how we are changing the way the world flies, taking our customers into the dynamic world of next-generation aircraft,” said Mitch Snyder, President and CEO at Bell Helicopter.
The Bell V-247 Vigilant’s design boasts a number of unrivaled capabilities and transformational features, including:
- A sea-based platform, which can be sized for compatibility with DDG guided missile destroyers shipboard applications
- Single engine tiltrotor unmanned aerial system
- 24-hour persistent ISR with a two aircraft system
- Speed: 250 knots cruise speed; 180 knots endurance speed; >300 knots at maximum continuous power
- Combat range: 450 nautical miles mission radius
- Time on station: 11 hours
- Size: 16,000 pounds empty weight / 29,500 pounds max gross weight; 65-feet wing span; 30-feet rotor diameter
- As it sits on the deck, the V-247 Vigilant can hold a combination of fuel, armament, and sensors, up to 13,000 pounds
- Blade Fold Wing Stow makes V-247 Vigilant DDG hangar compatible
- Expeditionary capability with small logistical footprint
- Open architecture and interfaces
- Air-to-air refueling
- Modular payload system to provide maximum flexibility
- Power distribution system to provide maximum mission capability
- Redundant flight control system
- Electro Optical System and Targeting System