HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Bell Textron Inc., a subsidiary of Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT), marked a significant milestone by delivering a High-Speed Vertical Take-off and Landing (HSVTOL) test article to Holloman Air Force Base for extensive demonstration and technology assessment, as announced on September 13, 2023. In collaboration with the Arnold Engineering Development Complex Holloman High Speed Test Track, Bell aims to evaluate the folding rotor, integrated propulsion, and flight control technologies at speeds representative of actual flight.
Jason Hurst, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Bell, emphasized the importance of this development, stating, “The HSVTOL test article delivery and commencement of sled testing operations represent a major stride toward our mission of crafting the next generation of high-speed vertical lift aircraft. Bell intends to showcase HSVTOL technology that draws from over 85 years of experience in high-speed rotorcraft development, utilizing these insights to produce a flying prototype with revolutionary capabilities.”
Bell’s sled test operations have a clear objective: to validate critical technologies through a full-scale, integrated demonstration within an environment that mirrors operational conditions. The plan includes executing a series of HSVTOL high-speed transition manoeuvres—a pioneering achievement in the realm of vertical lift aircraft. Before its arrival at Holloman Air Force Base, Bell successfully conducted functional demonstrations at Bell’s Flight Research Centre.
Bell’s High-Speed Vertical Take-off and Landing (HSVTOL) technology combines the hovering capabilities of a helicopter with the speed (exceeding 400 knots), range, and survivability typical of jet aircraft. With a legacy of more than 85 years in developing high-speed vertical lift technology, Bell has been a trailblazer in innovative VTOL configurations, including the X-14, X-22, XV-3, and XV-15, serving NASA, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Air Force. This endeavour builds upon Bell’s well-established history of pushing the boundaries of fast flight, exemplified by the iconic Bell X-1.