Bell’s 360 Invictus Crosses 90% Complete Milestone

Bell displays the 360 Invictus prototype at the 90% complete milestone in the factory.
Credit: Bell

Rotorcraft manufacturer Bell says the 360 Invictus helicopter is 90% complete and released pictures of the first competitive prototype carrying a full load of weapons.

The release days ahead of the Farnborough International Airshow comes two weeks after Sikorsky announced that the Raider X prototype had reached the 90% complete milestone. 

Both prototypes are competing for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) contract to build hundreds of new armed scout rotorcraft. 

Bell last reported in January that the 360 Invictus was 75% complete in the factory. 

Both designs are waiting for the delayed GE T901 turboshaft engine, which is being developed under the Improved Turbine Engine Program. 

The new 360 Invictus shows the helicopter with a revised tail design, which was previously announced. Bell changed the anti-torque system from a ducted to open rotor design last year to save weight. 

The 360 Invictus is also shown for the first time carrying the XM915, a 20-mm cannon developed for the FARA program. 

The Army launched the FARA program in 2018 with requirements to fly at least 180 kt. The aircraft must also use the 3,000 shp T901 engine and limit the rotor diameter to 40 ft. The maximum takeoff weight can be no higher than 14,000 lb. The Army also specified the use of the XM915 and that the overall system must be affordable. 

Steve Trimble

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