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Bell Develops "Stealth" Helicopters

Bell Develops "Stealth" Helicopters 24 August, 2020

The Bell helicopter company is working on “stealth” technology to add to its helicopters to make the new aircraft less detectable by enemies, it still can’t be put into the category of “stealth” aircraft yet.

Speaking to Scout Warrior, Vince Tobin, vice president of advanced tiltrotor systems, Bell Helicopter said, “We will definitely employ some passive measures in terms of how we shape the aircraft, to make it invisible. The key is not to be able to target it and reduce the signature passively so radar sweeps do not see anything. In the end, you do not want to get detected or engaged.”

While it is difficult to add specifics regarding stealth technology, one of the few parameters that can be modified includes reducing the heat signature coming from engines or exhaust and to shape the exterior of the aircraft to be less detectable to “pings” or return signals to enemy radar.

Tobin added that they are looking for ways to overcome that heat signature. “A lot of new technologies that the engine companies are looking for include seeking the best ways to ensure maximum performance of the engine while using an IR suppressor.”

 “Instead of having sensors mounted to the turret, you have sensors that are mounted to the aircraft – so essentially you have sensors staring in 360-degrees around the aircraft at any given time. Those images are stitched together so it appears as one continuous image to the pilot. Both pilots can make use of the same system,” Tobin said.

The Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft completed a successful autonomous test flight in December 2019. It is a part of the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program aimed at ascertaining requirements and paving the way toward a new Future Vertical Lift aircraft designed to meet a wide range of new requirements.

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