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Spirit AeroSystems rolled out the first fuselage for the Bell Helicopter V-280 tiltrotor demonstrator on 22 September, revealing much about how the team hopes to make tiltrotor technology affordable for widespread military application.
The V-280 features several design innovations as a generational improvement on the tiltrotor technology used with the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, including a potential breakthrough with a straight wing that replaces the dihedral and swept swing on the V-22.
But Bell chief executive John Garrison tells Flightglobal in an interview that the most critical breakthrough on the V-280 is also manufacturing process intended to dramatically lower the price point and operating cost of tiltrotor technology.