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Bell Demonstrates High-Speed Vertical Take-off and Landing for X-Plane Programme


Bell Textron was selected to compete for the Defence 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 recently showcased the High-Speed Vertical Take-off and Landing (HSVTOL) technology testing efforts at Holloman Air Force Base. The team has utilized the Holloman High-Speed Test Track to demonstrate the folding rotor, integrated propulsion and flight control technologies at representative flight speeds.



“The successful sled test completion is a culmination of Bell’s HSVTOL research and unprecedented technology development,” said Jason Hurst, Executive Vice President, Engineering. “The technology demonstration provides Bell with critical experience and knowledge that will inform our X-plane development for DARPA’s SPRINT program. It is a pivotal step in the creation next generation of high-speed vertical lift aircraft for future warfighters.



The SPRINT program 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.



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 U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, and continues to build on its proven history of fast flight from the Bell X-1.




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