Bell Helicopter is taking its legacy developing tiltrotor technology into the unmanned world with a new aircraft it is calling the V-247 "Vigilant."
The company unveiled a model of the aircraft Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, complete with a motorized demonstration of how the unmanned aircraft system can fold its wings and rotors for optimal storage.
Now is as good a time as any to invest in the effort, the company figures, as the military services look for unmanned aircraft that are runway-independent, less expensive to operate, offer more persistence and require less space to store and transport.
Bell Helicopter is particularly targeting the Marine Corps as a possible customer because it appears closest to establishing a requirement, Vince Tobin, the company’s vice president of advanced tiltrotor systems, said Thursday.
The company believes Vigilant meets “the comprehensive spectrum of capabilities outlined in the 2016 Marine Corps Aviation Plan,” a company statement said.