Bell Textron has been selected to compete for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Speed and Runway Independent Technologies (SPRINT) X-Plane programme.
The SPRINT programme intends to design, build, and fly an X-Plane; an experimental aircraft to demonstrate enabling technologies and integrated concepts necessary for a transformational combination of aircraft speed and runway independence for the next generation of air mobility platforms.
Phase 1A includes conceptual design, culminating in a formal Conceptual Design Review.
“Bell is honoured to be selected for SPRINT and thrilled to support another X-plane, which will bring unprecedented speed to vertical lift aircraft,” said Jason Hurst, executive vice president, engineering, Bell.
“In our rich 85-year history, Bell has produced memorable X-planes, such as the Bell X-1 and XV-15, and expanded our VTOL aircraft capabilities. This contract award is a testament to Bell’s ability to build on past successful high-speed aircraft programs while investing in new research to validate HSVTOL technology.”
SPRINT X-Plane programme
Bell plans to leverage its extensive investment in High-Speed Vertical Takeoff and Landing (HSVTOL) technology to demonstrate advanced performance capabilities.
Bell is currently conducting risk reduction testing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico to demonstrate its folding rotor, integrated propulsion, and flight control technologies using a dedicated test article.
Bell’s HSVTOL technology blends the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed (400+ kts), range, and survivability of jet aircraft. Bell has developed high-speed vertical lift technology for more than 85 years, pioneering innovative VTOL configurations like the X-14, X-22, XV-3 and XV-15 for NASA, the US Army and US Air Force, and continues to build on its proven history of fast flight from the Bell X-1.
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