Bell 360 Invictus Build Makes Significant Progress for Army’s Fara Prototype Competition

August 11, 2021

Bell and Team Invictus are combining industry-leading technology with digital processes to improve manufacturing, testing, and integration schedules to deliver a high-performance attack and reconnaissance aircraft

Fort Worth, Texas (August 11, 2021) – Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has released new data on the build and testing for the Bell 360 Invictus competitive prototype. The Bell 360 program is rapidly progressing through manufacturing, assembly, components testing, and systems integration work for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. The team has completed multiple design and risk reviews with the Army and is on schedule for all program requirements. The Bell 360, a low-risk, high-speed platform with proven technology and inherently reliable designs, will deliver soldiers transformational operational capabilities at an affordable cost.

“This team is achieving great results responding to requirements, reducing programmatic risk, and delivering state-of-the-art capabilities for the Army,” said Chris Gehler, vice president and program director for the Bell 360 Invictus. “We are combining Bell’s unique knowledge of the demands placed on scout aircraft with engineering and technical expertise to give the Army a weapon system to dominate attack reconnaissance missions for decades to come.”

Since beginning the build in late 2020, Bell has made significant progress on the Bell 360 Invictus fuselage, main rotor blades, gearbox assembly, cases, and other high-value components. By implementing a design-as-built methodology that digitally connects the entire program throughout its lifecycle, Bell has increased its ability to collaborate in real-time with program partners and the Army. This method accelerates decision-making among distributed teams using a common, secure data environment that creates a singular source of data for the program leading to reduced assembly, rework time and cost.

Along with assembling the Bell 360 Invictus, high-value components such as the main rotor gearbox, driveshafts and couplings are being tested at Bell’s Drive Systems Test Lab (DSTL). The DSTL is used to carry out risk-reduction efforts that ensure the program has accurate and verified data to qualify components in advance of flight test. 

A new FARA-specific Systems Integration Lab (SIL) is also operational at Bell. This facility allows Bell to integrate flight-critical components, software, and mission systems for testing, verification, and validation of functionality before they take flight on an actual aircraft. This approach reduces technical risk and aids in the safe, rapid, and efficient execution of flight test program.

“The Bell 360 Invictus is an exciting aircraft that brings sophisticated digital systems together in a high-speed, reliable, maintainable vehicle for austere environments around the world,” said Jayme Gonzalez, program manager, Bell 360 Invictus. “The Bell 360 offers the Army the ability to modernize using simplified and inherently reliable designs to reduce costs and deliver enhanced effectiveness for the Army.” 

To learn more about Bell 360 Invictus and Future Vertical Lift (FVL), please visit the Bell FVL website, and follow us on YouTubeLinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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Distribution Statement A: Approved for public release

This research was partially funded by the Government under Agreement No. No. W911W6-19-9-0002. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Aviation Development Directorate, or the U.S. Government.

CONTACT:

Michael A. Reilly

mreilly@bellflight.com

Office: 703-271-4928

Mobile: 817-308-7143

ABOUT BELL

Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 80 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.

We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were aboard NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of on-demand mobility.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours.

Above all, our breakthrough innovations deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Efficiently. Reliably. And always, with safety at the forefront.

ABOUT TEXTRON INC.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the risk that the U.S. Army will not choose Bell’s solution for the FARA program; the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products or unanticipated expenses or delays in connection with the launching of significant new products or programs; changing priorities or reductions in the U.S. Government defense budget, including those related to military operations in foreign countries; changes in worldwide economic or political conditions that impact demand for our products, interest rates or foreign exchange rates; our ability to perform as anticipated and to control costs under contracts with the U.S. Government; the U.S. Government’s ability to unilaterally modify or terminate its contracts with us for the U.S. Government’s convenience or for our failure to perform, to change applicable procurement and accounting policies, or, under certain circumstances, to withhold payment or suspend or debar us as a contractor eligible to receive future contract awards; changes in foreign military funding priorities or budget constraints and determinations, or changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of military and commercial products; and performance issues with key suppliers, subcontractors or business partners.

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(401) 457-2288
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