Bell Shows Redesigned V-247 For Future Navy Fleet

A Bell V-247 configured for the US Navy's Future Vertical Lift-Maritime Strike mission.
Credit: Bell

Bell has scaled down and redesigned the unmanned V-247 tiltrotor to propose as a member of family of systems that would become the U.S. Navy’s Future Vertical Lift-Maritime Strike (FVL-MS) program.  

 The new, 28,000-lb. version of the V-247 features a folding blade and rotor system to allow the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to operate from the hangars of Aegis-class destroyers, says Carl Forsling, a sales and strategy senior manager at Bell. 

A 35,000-lb. version of the aircraft emerged four years ago as a candidate for the U.S. Marine Corps’ short-lived requirement for a ship- or land-based MUX rotorcraft. The Marines have since decided to acquire land-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. MQ-9s to perform a scaled-back version of the same role.   

But the new version of Bell’s unmanned tiltrotor emerges as the Navy analyzes alternative options for the FVL-MS family of systems. The Navy plans to use the FVL-MS program to replace a fleet of Sikorsky MH-60S and MH-60R Seahawks, plus the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout.  

In Bell’s vision, a maritime version of the V-280 Valor now being offered for the Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft would anchor the FVL-MS fleet, with the V-247 playing a supporting role, Forsling says.

In simple terms, the V-280 could perform a role analogous to the MH-60S aircraft deployed on the Navy’s large ships, while the V-247 could replace MH-60Rs fielded on destroyers, Forsling says, although he adds the overall composition may not be so straightforward.

As displayed at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space convention near Washington, the V-247 would carry a pod to dispense sonobuoys and torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare, as well as sensors for maritime patrol.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.