Bell Textron Opens Lab for Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft Program

Bell Textron has opened its Weapon Systems Integration Lab in Arlington, Texas, to support the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program.

The FLRAA is an ongoing effort to produce a new aerial fleet for vertical-lift, combat, and aeromedical applications as replacements for the army’s aging helicopters.

The company wrote that the center will be used for “safe, rapid, and efficient” trials and integration of next-generation tiltrotor and mission systems for the V-280 Valor platform, the aircraft selected under the FLRAA.

“This dedicated [Systems Integration Lab] supports the application, verification and validation of Bell’s innovative digital engineering approach and open architecture, playing a critical role in delivering outstanding operational performance and versatility to the US Army,” Bell SVP and FLRAA Program Director Ryan Ehinger stated.

Bell V-280 Valor
The Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor is chosen as the new US Army Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. Photo: Bell Textron

‘Strategic Investment’

Bell’s Weapon Systems Integration Lab follows the 2021 construction of a 47,000-square-foot area in Arlington to house the firm’s flight research and development programs. The latest facility will serve as a fifth-generation systems integration hub at Bell’s Arlington site.

Additional operations the new center will focus on include electrical, hydraulic, avionics, sensors, and flight controls for multiple manned and unmanned aircraft programs.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Bell, who has made Arlington the home of its Flight Research Center for nearly six decades now,” Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said.

“The Arlington Economic Development Corporation’s recent strategic investment shows our city’s continued commitment to supporting innovation right here in our backyard.”

Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft

The US Department of Defense launched the FLRAA framework in 2019 to fill the roles of UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters, in service since the late 1970s.

The program aims to employ the new aircraft by 2030, during which the older fleets will complete their service life. In 2022, the Pentagon signed a $1.3-billion contract with Bell Textron to introduce the FLRAA aircraft into the US Army.

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