Lethal. Sustainable. Affordable. Three words Bell used to describe its recently-unveiled upgraded 360 Invictus stealth helicopter model.
Showcasing the 360 Invictus at the recent AUSA 2021 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C., Bell disclosed its 360 Invictus program is moving swiftly through manufacturing, assembly, components testing, and system integrations. It looks like the U.S. Army will receive its new helicopter on time in the fall for future stealth attack reconnaissance missions.
"The Bell 360 Invictus is an exciting aircraft that brings sophisticated digital systems together in a high-speed, reliable, maintainable vehicle for austere environments around the world," Jayme Gonzalez, program manager of Bell 360 Invictus, said to Defence Blog.
"The Bell 360 offers the Army the ability to modernize using simplified and inherently reliable designs to reduce costs and deliver enhanced effectiveness for the Army," Gonzalez continued.
The helicopter was upgraded as part of the Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.
"We are combining Bell’s unique knowledge of the demands placed on scout aircraft with engineering and technical expertise to give the Army a weapon system to dominate attack reconnaissance missions for decades to come." Chris Gehler, vice president, and program director for the Bell 360 Invictus, said to Defence Blog.
Bell 360 Invictus specs
In terms of maneuverability, the helicopter is versatile. Thanks to its articulated rotor, lift-sharing wing, and optimized tail rotor, the 360 Invictus can easily attack or carry out reconnaissance in all environments.
It comes clad with a 20mm cannon and an internal payload with a modular effects launcher. Having a combination of advanced sensors and air-launched effects increases situational awareness and increases its lethality, says Bell.
The chopper's supplemental power unit (SPU) enables it to have both extra horsepower to boost cruise airspeed, dash speed, hover payload, and autorotative performance, as well as providing auxiliary power for ground maintenance.
Speaking of cruise speed, the Bell 360 Invictus will have over 180 KTAS cruise speeds. It will also have hovering capabilities at Level 1 handling qualities at 4K/95 degrees.
All in all, as army and defense helicopters keep improving, much like the recently-unveiled Defiant X helicopter by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the Bell 360 Invictus will potentially revolutionize future air attacks and reconnaissance.