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Bell announces industry team for US Army FARA bid

Bell 360 Invictus
Photo: Bell

Bell Textron has announced agreements with nine aerospace companies that will form “Team Invictus”, which will be in charge of producing the Bell 360 Invictus prototype offered as part of the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.

The Bell 360 Invictus is one of four prototypes offered for the army’s next-generation rotorcraft program.

The team members say they are offering a prototype using a configuration that emphasizes operational availability, sustainability, and maintainability for the army’s acquisition of a lethal, affordable rotorcraft with advanced mission systems to modernize aviation for multi-domain operations (MDO).

“Future vertical lift is critical for the army’s ability to win in multi-domain operations with FARA defeating defensive layers and the future long-range assault aircraft (FLRAA) exploiting opened areas to achieve operational objectives,” said Chris Gehler, vice president and program director for FARA at Bell.

Team Invictus is composed of Astronics Corporation which is responsible for a modular framework of airframe power generation, conversion, and distribution products. Collins Aerospace is delivering avionics hardware and software featuring cyber-hardened and digital backbone solutions, while GE Aviation will be delivering the 3,000-SHP T901 engine and working on the aircraft Health Awareness System (HAS). ITT-Enidine Inc. will deliver passive Liquid Inertia Vibration Eliminator (LIVE) units for all modes of operation including high speed, and L3Harris Technologies will supply the WESCAM MX-15D, a stabilized multi-sensor, multi-spectral imaging and targeting system.

Other team members include Parker Lord, Mecaer Aviation Group, MOOG Inc., and TRU Simulation + Training.

“Each team member brings a capability that is vital to the success of the Bell 360 and we are honored to have proven, capable, and well-respected industry partners on Team Invictus,” stated Gehler. “This is an outstanding industry team, and we are working diligently to produce a FARA weapon system that is operationally effective and affordably sustainable, as well as complementary and in many ways common to the FLRAA program.”

First flight of the Bell 360 Invictus is targeted for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022.