The V-280 is set to replace Osprey aircraft that have fallen out of favor within the service. When the new aircraft is rolled out in the 2030s, the US Army plans to have a chopper with advanced-electronic warfare capabilities, including radar jamming. “We will definitely employ some passive measures in terms of how we shape the aircraft, to make it invisible,” according to Vince Tobin, a senior executive at Bell Helicopters. "The key is not to be able to target it and reduce the signature passively,” he added, noting, "in the end, you do not want to get detected or engaged."
Tobin would not disclose the precise technologies used to make the aircraft “stealthy,” observing instead that it was not precisely a ‘stealth’ helicopter. The Pentagon, however, will deploy measures including infrared heat-suppressing mechanisms and a fuselage designed to render the aircraft less noticeable to enemy tracking devices.
"We are looking for opportunities to reduce that heat signature," Tobin said. “A lot of technologies that the engine companies are looking for include seeking the best ways to ensure maximum performance of the engine while using an [infrared] suppressor.” Reducing an aircraft’s heat signature diminishes the need to deploy radar-jamming tactics, he added.
The new tiltrotor will also make use of a sensor fusion suite that provides F-35 pilots with a 360-degree view of the surrounding battlespace. Troops or other personnel riding in the vertical lift aircraft will also have access to goggles or a helmet while en route to a mission, Tobin said.
Bell engineers state that they are 81-percent finished with the V-280’s design. The defense contractor will present a concept demonstration in November of this year.