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Bell 360 Invictus

The Bell 360 Invictus delivers the U.S. Army’s requirements for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. Whether in the urban canyons of the megacity or rugged rural terrain, the design of the Bell 360 Invictus delivers advanced speed, range and agility. The robust, articulated rotor, lift-sharing wing and optimized tail rotor enable versatility for attack and reconnaissance operations in any environment.

The design leverages key technologies from the 525 program. The Bell 525 Relentless is a medium-lift helicopter that Bell is developing for commercial customers. For example, the rotors on the Invictus are a version of the rotors used on the Bell 525. The 360 Invictus rotor system and airframe would be significantly smaller than the 525, however. With seating for only a pilot and gunner sitting in tandem, the single-engined aircraft would have only four blades,

Scouts need to show up every time. The maneuver force depends on it. A focus on modern manufacturing tools and processes increases affordability in acquisition, and the mature design optimizes reliability to ensure that when a soldier looks skyward, the Bell 360 Invictus will be there — over their shoulder and in the fight. Always prepared to finish the fight, the Bell 360 Invictus supports a 20mm cannon and internal payload that features an integrated munitions launcher to accommodate current and future ordnance. The combination of advanced sensors and air-launched effects elevates situational awareness and increases lethality across the multi-domain spectrum.

Combining agility and lethality with a modular open systems approach and sustainability innate to its design, the Bell 360 Invictus provides a low-risk path to fulfill the U.S. Army’s requirements for a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), providing security and battlefield situational awareness until the fight is finished.

With an emphasis on a design that provides impressive capability with reduced complexity for improved affordability and manufacturability, Bell combined mature technologies with innovative processes to achieve next-generation performance in a highly sustainable aircraft. Proven, articulated rotor head design delivers greater speeds, and high-speed rotor blade design mitigates retreating blade stall, providing agility in reconnaissance missions from hover to high speed.

Lift-sharing wing reduces rotor lift demand in forward flight, enabling superb high-speed maneuverability without the need for a complex propulsor and drive system. Improved lethality with internal and external weapons stores, including a 20 mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher, and support for air-launched effects integration. Supplemental power unit serves dual functions: providing auxiliary power for ground maintenance and systems checks, and contributing additional horsepower in flight to boost cruise speed, dash speed and hover capability.

A proven digital flight control system harmonizes mature technologies for advanced performance while offering a path to autonomous flight and continuous capability upgrades. Digital thread allows real-time collaboration among fabrication, supply chain and maintenance to facilitate smoother manufacturing, better sustainability, reduced downstream costs and mitigated schedule risks. 3D digital twin provides a common data source throughout the life cycle of the aircraft, monitoring survivability and enabling test scenarios to be modeled as battlefield technology evolves.

Design efficiency is achieved by reduced manufacturing, assembly, cost and rework time from Bell’s program approach and investment in technologies for high-rate manufacturing. Backed by a designed-as-built manufacturing model and digital thread–enabled tools to enhance design collaboration, the Bell 360 Invictus is as practical as it is lethal. Bell’s program-based approach and digital toolkit make adapting and scaling aircraft faster and more streamlined than ever before. The Bell 360 Invictus continues Bell’s decades-long legacy as the innovator behind U.S. Army’s reconnaissance aircraft, with renewed emphasis not only on capability, but also on low technical risk, affordability, survivability and lethality.

On June 4, 2020 Bell Textron announced agreements with nine premier aerospace industry leaders to form Team Invictus. The companies are producing the Bell 360 Invictus prototype submission as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. Each industry partner brings unique experience and technological expertise to provide a low-risk path for the Army’s acquisition of a lethal, affordable rotorcraft with advanced mission systems to modernize aviation for multi-domain operations (MDO).

“Team Invictus is working together to show how cutting-edge technology will give soldiers the ability to confidently operate in the complex and contested battlespace of multi-domain operations,” said Chris Gehler, vice president and program director for FARA at Bell. “Future Vertical Lift is critical for the Army’s ability to win in multi-domain operations with FARA defeating defensive layers and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) exploiting opened areas to achieve operational objectives.”

Team members are working closely together to deliver the Bell 360 Invictus prototype using a configuration that emphasizes operational availability, sustainability, and maintainability. The members of Team Invictus include:

  1. Astronics Corporation for a modular framework of airframe power generation, conversion, and distribution products
  2. Collins Aerospace for integration of a new generation of avionics hardware and software featuring cyber-hardened and digital backbone solutions to configure and integrate mission systems
  3. GE Aviation for the 3,000-SHP T901 engine and working on the aircraft Health Awareness System (HAS)
  4. ITT-Enidine Inc. for the passive Liquid Inertia Vibration Eliminator (LIVE) units for all modes of operation including high speed
  5. L3Harris Technologies for the WESCAM™ MX-15D, an advanced, stabilized multi-sensor, multi-spectral imaging and targeting system
  6. Parker Lord for rotor dampers, the main rotor CF bearing, the tail rotor tension torsion strap, and the Active Vibration Control (AVC) System
  7. Mecaer Aviation Group, Inc. for a fully retractable, tail dragger landing gear system
  8. MOOG Inc. for flight control computer (FCC) electronics, software, and flight control actuation, critical components of the Bell fly-by-wire, Flight Control System (FCS)
  9. TRU Simulation + Training for a high-fidelity flight simulator that gives pilots a true sense of the aircraft flight controls

Team Invictus is applying digital design and manufacturing technologies, including maintenance as part of the design process, and use of emerging commercial practices to bring a holistic view of digital models, processing and analysis to reduce lifecycle maintenance and servicing requirements—and thus reducing sustainment costs.

“Each team member brings a capability that is vital to the success of the Bell 360 and we are honored to have proven, capable, and well-respected industry partners on Team Invictus,” stated Gehler. “This is an outstanding industry team, and we are working diligently to produce a FARA weapon system that is operationally effective and affordably sustainable, as well as complementary and in many ways common to the FLRAA program.”

Following the selection of the Bell 360 Invictus for the competitive prototype in March 2020, Team Invictus continues to rapidly move forward. Team Invictus’ collective expertise reduces program risk while preserving the Army’s FARA schedule leading to a first flight targeted for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022.

Cruise Speed >180 KTAS at mission gross weight/configuration
Hover Level 1 Handling Qualities at 4K/95°
Flight Characteristics Fly-by-wire flight control system enables optimal crew/autonomy Reduced pilot workload, superb agility in all flight modes
Combat Radius 135 nm with > 90 minutes of time on station
Payload 1,400 lbs.
  • 20 mm cannon
  • Integrated munitions launcher
  • Air-launched effects integration
  • Affordability/Sustainability Proprietary tools connect all aspects of design, supply chain and maintenance to allow real-time collaboration and reduce life cycle costs while increasing readiness.
    Upgradeable/Adaptable Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA)/digital backbone, Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) compliant, digital fly-by-wire flight control system-upgradeable throughout the life cycle and adaptable to emerging requirements

    Bell 360 Invictus Bell 360 Invictus Bell 360 Invictus Bell 360 Invictus Bell 360 Invictus Bell 360 Invictus

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    Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:55:32 ZULU