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Bell receives market research investment to advance U.S. DoD high-speed VTOL capabilities

By Chris Stonor

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron subsidiary, announced last week its advancement to the next phase of the AFWERX High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge, reports a press release.

This is a crowdsourcing effort for the United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), where Bell is one of 11 companies from more than 200 challenge entrants selected to receive market research investments aimed at advancing solutions that enable optimal agility in austere environments.

Jason Hurst

Jason Hurst, Bell’s vice president of Innovation, enthused, “Bell is thrilled that our HSVTOL concepts have been selected for the next phase of the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX Challenge. In entering this next phase, Bell’s teams will continue to lay the groundwork for the production of another revolutionary military aircraft and provide USSOCOM and the U.S. Air Force with conceptual designs and development roadmaps to accelerate this capability to the warfighter.”

Bell’s HSVTOL vehicles offer the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fighter aircraft. The release explains, “This family of scalable aircraft concepts is designed to support a range of missions, including personnel recovery, autonomous ISR/Strike, and tactical mobility, with low downwash hover capability and jet-like speeds of more than 400 kts.”

It goes on, “Bell’s concepts are envisioned as part of a broader HSVTOL mission system framework that provides the next generation of speed, range, and survivability. These concepts provide the flexibility to carry out USAF and USSOCOM missions across the full spectrum of conflict and political scenarios.”

And adds, “It has emerged as a top-tier entrant in the HSVTOL Concept Challenge by meeting or exceeding rigorous evaluation criteria focused on technical merit, reliability, scalability, and other factors.”

Dr. Reid Melville, Chief Innovation Officer at the  Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Transformational Capabilities Office, commented, “The HSVTOL Concept Challenge has surfaced an impressive range and calibre of solutions to help us understand how to build a new class of air vehicles.”

He continued, “We believe the organisations selected to receive market research investments at this stage have the potential to deliver truly groundbreaking innovation.”

Over the next six months, Bell will further develop its HSVTOL solution, working closely with the USAF, USSOCOM, and Collaboration.Ai, the prime contractor facilitating the HSVTOL Concept Challenge.

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