Maybe 55 is the new 25 – at least the T64 seems to think so. Now closing in on 60 years in operation, the venerable T64 is exhibiting a millennial spry as the engine powering the Bell V-280 Valor, which has now achieved its first flight.
The V-280 Valor is a next-generation tiltrotor that is designed to provide a vertical-lift aircraft for the U.S. military demonstrating unmatched sustainability, agility, speed, range and payload capabilities at an affordable cost.
GE Aviation is teaming with Bell to provide logistical, engineering, integration, and onsite flight test support of the Valor’s T64-419 engines. The team’s efforts culminated in the recent successful first flight. GE Aviation remains committed to supporting the Bell test plan through the end of this Technical Demonstration phase.
“First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernization priorities and acquisition reform initiatives,” says Mitch Snyder, President & CEO for Bell. “The Valor is designed to revolutionize vertical lift for the U.S. Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake.”
GE Aviation’s Mike Harmon, T64 Program Manager, added, “We’re excited to be a part of this innovative project. The T64 is demonstrating its dependability and compatibility as the Valor continues its evolution.” Harmon credits the T64 Engineering team, led by Lisa DiBello, as being instrumental in keeping the engine program on track and tightly coordinated with Bell.
The Bell V-280 Valor will exhibit twice the speed and range of conventional helicopters, and is designed to offer maneuver commanders unmatched operational agility to self-deploy and perform a multitude of vertical lift missions currently unachievable in one aircraft.