FORT WORTH, Tex. --- Bell Helicopter’s recently formed XworX organization is engaged in a new design and modification effort that will make the US Marine Corps’ fleet of H-1 aircraft (AH-1Z and UH-1Y) the most combat survivable helicopters in the world. By turning the exhaust system on the H-1’s twin GE T-700 engines Bell XworX skilled team-members will substantially reduce the infrared heat signature on the aircraft, a feature that will greatly increase survivability according to lessons learned in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
XworX was charged to manage this design modification because of the speed they could turn around the aircraft with the new exhaust configuration installed. Doing this very quickly reduces the program schedule risk and allows flight test data to be collected well in advance of committing to a production design.
Formally established in November 2003, Bell XworX brings together several organizations that have been developing new ideas and products at Bell Helicopter for many years. Now contained in one organization, the resulting synergy of effort provides Bell, and its customers, a tremendous developmental capability.
The Bell XWORX is responsible for the rapid development and prototyping on new vertical solutions for emerging and changing requirements. XworX addresses all aspects of the industry including manufacturing processes, cost containment and new technology integration. Located at the Bell facility in Arlington, the Bell XWORX has already begun work on numerous projects, to include the full-scale flying prototype of the HV-911 Eagle Eye UAV.
The H-1 Upgrades Integrated Test Team currently has achieved over 2,000 flight test hours with five aircraft (three AH-1Z and two UH-1Y test aircraft, of which all but one AH-1Z are production representative). The test aircraft have flown 222 knots, maneuvered from –0.4 to +3.5 g’s and been well above the 10,000-foot altitude mark.
By 2014, the Marine Corps will have procured 100 UH-1Y Hueys and 180 AH-1Z Super Cobras.
Bell Helicopter, a Textron company, is the world’s leading manufacturer of vertical lift aircraft. Bell has manufactured more than 35,000 helicopters; flying in more than 120 countries. The current line includes a full range of commercial and military helicopters as well as a Family of Tiltrotor Aircraft ranging from the Bell Eagle Eye UAV, to the V-22 Osprey for the US military, as well as the BA609 nine passenger civil tiltrotor aircraft.
Bell XworX Team Developing New Turned Exhaust System to Enhance Combat Survivability on the H-1