December 7, 1999
Bell Eagle Eye Team UAV partners named
FORT WORTH, Texas, USA ( Bell Helicopter Textron Press Release ) -
Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. announces the
formation of the Bell Eagle Eye Team to develop a Vertical Take off and
Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ( VTUAV ) for a US Navy and Marine Corps joint
service initiative. Bell, the world's preeminent supplier of vertical lift
aircraft and a pioneer in the development of tiltrotor technology, has
developed a tiltrotor UAV called the Bell Eagle Eye. Joining the Bell
Eagle Eye Team are Raytheon, EG&G and Lockheed Martin, plus key
Raytheon and EG&G will lead the integration of the VTUAV Ground
control System with the core element of the Tactical Control System (TCS)
and provide assistance in integrating and installing the VTUAV aboard ships
where they have particular expertise. Raytheon is a major provider of
UAV Ground/Surface Control Stations and the system integrator for the Navy's
TCS. EG&G is a member of the Raytheon team and has continuously supported
the UAV TCS program.
Lockheed Martin leads the Bell Eagle Eye Team Shipboard Systems
Integration team and has primary responsibility for integrating and
installing the VTUAV system aboard the ships where they have expertise.
Lockheed Martin has extensive experience in systems integration for naval
surface vessels. Lockheed Martin is also the expert for the Q-70 computing
systems being integrated into the Navy's fleet and will provide their
expertise in that field as well.
The Bell Eagle Eye tiltrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is
revolutionary leap in UAV technology. Traditionally UAVs have been small
fixed wing aircraft requiring either a runway or netting for retrieval.
Normally runways are unavailable in the field and netting has proven to be a
very hazardous form of UAV retrieval aboard ship often resulting in serious
damage to or destruction of the aircraft. Vertical lift aircraft have the
advantage of being able to takeoff and land anywhere. However, helicopter
UAVs do not have the speed and efficiency of fixed-wing UAV aircraft. The
Bell Eagle Eye is the perfect solution. With its rotors in the vertical
position, the Bell Eagle Eye can takeoff, hover and land like a traditional
rotary wing aircraft. By tilting its rotors to the horizontal position the
Bell Eagle Eye can fly with the high speed and efficiency of a turbo-prop
fixed wing airplane.
To demonstrate these capabilities Bell built the TR-911X, a fully
integrated 7/8th scale Bell Eagle Eye Vertical Take-off and Landing Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) system which achieved 95 percent of the data
requirements in a recent Navy contracted demonstration. Its nearest
competitor achieved only 60 percent of the data requirements according to US
The Bell Eagle Eye Program Manager, Chuck Jacobus noted, "Bell's
unique capability to leverage this extensive experience in support of the
VTUAV program provides for full compliance with the performance requirements
and meets nearly 50% of the objective requirements. In addition, the
extensive contracted demonstration programs and company IR&D reduces risk
and provides an exceptional foundation for the final design, development,
testing and production of the VTUAV system."
The Bell Eagle Eye Tactical VTUAV flew under NAVAIR contract
N00019-98-C-0051, VTOL UAV Demonstration Program at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ.
The contract required 50 hours of land based flight tests to evaluate the
performance and maturity of the aircraft and control system. The Eagle Eye
Demonstrator aircraft was the first to finish the 50-hour Land Based Flight
Test Task. Its flawless performance has set the standard for VTOL UAV
In less than 90 days after its first flight on March 6, 1998, the single
aircraft flew 55.5 hours and made 43 landings in tests which have expanded
the aircraft's envelope and have proven its advertised performance and
technology maturity claims. During the tests, the envelope was expanded to
over 14,600 feet and more than 200 knots True Air Speed (TAS) in level
cruise flight; while carrying 210 pounds of payload plus mission fuel,
exceeding the objectives substantially. Performance in the "best endurance
mission was more than 1.7 hours on station. And in the "best range"
mission, the aircraft flew more than 315 nautical miles. Real time target
imagery was provided during the flights.
Both the aircraft and ground control station performed flawlessly, getting
up and going to work for every scheduled flight in a regimented 2-hour range
test period. Maintenance requirements (other than pre-flight checks) were
The Eagle Eye executed all applicable demonstration objectives, and expanded
the aircraft's flight envelope substantially. Capabilities demonstrated
Routine VTOL take-off and landings to a 24' helicopter landing spot
PMA-263 assessed the contractor's ability to provide the required
performance data. Bell Helicopter's Eagle Eye was rated at 95%. The next
best was 60%.
Bell is currently under contract to integrate the Government's Unmanned air
vehicle Common Automated Recovery System (UCARS) into the TR911X system and
demonstrate it in Yuma Arizona during January and February next year.
The selection for the EMD program is scheduled for March 2000. This could
lead to full production in 2003.
A launch and recovery accuracy better than the required 9.8'
Automated hover and landing in winds gusting to 32 knots
Stable hover out of ground effect at 1100 MSL in 95* temperatures
while carrying 210 pounds of payload and 350 pounds of fuel
Recovery at take-off gross weight
The ability to fly (cruise) at speeds between 0 and 150 knots. (202
knots TAS cruise achieved with less than 90% power)
Cruise at 14,600' with a 200 pound payload (aircraft design limit >20,000 ft)
Bell Helicopter Textron is a $1.4 billion leading producer of commercial and
military helicopters, and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor
aircraft. Globally recognized for customer service, innovation and superior
quality, Bell's global workforce of over 7,500 employees serves customers
flying Bell aircraft in over 120 countries.
Textron Inc. is an $11 billion, global, multi-industry company
with market-leading businesses in Aircraft, Automotive, Industrial and
Finance. Textron has a workforce of over 65,000 employees and major
manufacturing facilities in 27 countries. Textron is among Fortune
magazine's "Global Most Admired Companies."