- Aug 14, 2009
- Reaction score
Skyblazer said:Don't forget Bell sold to Agusta the civil tiltrotor activity, which could have been an interesting area of innovation. Don't forget they purchased one of the few promising VTOL programs, the X-Hawk, only to kill it later on. All the slightly innovative programs they introduced over the past 20 years didn't amount to much. Contrary to Sikorsky, who have never ceased to innovate (Cypher/Dragon Warrior, S-92, Speedhawk, "Stealth Hawk", etc.) the way I see it is that Bell has chosen to be a conservative company who seems to be mainly concerned to stay afloat by keeping the V-22 and Cobra programs going, while vaguely trying to keep a share of the civilian market, not out of a genuine interest for it but for fear they might lose the segment for good... It takes only the total lack of willingness to communicate with the public at the Paris Air Show last year to understand that.
I don't know enough of the history of the 609 program to understand why Boeing left the joint venture, Agusta came in, and why Bell Helicopter sold its remaining interest in the 609 to AgustaWestland. It does seem very odd considering Bell Helicopter's decades-long investment studying tiltrotors and tiltfans. I was very surprised that Bell Helicopter's proposal for JMR Medium was a new tiltrotor design, the V-280 Valor. I am even more surprised by the rumors of a civilian V-280.
The conservatism, profit-taking, and lack of innovation at Bell Helicopter explains the existence of AVX Aircraft.