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Bell picks Safran for FLRAA starter-generator

By Oliver Johnson | May 22, 2024

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 44 seconds.

Bell has selected Safran Electrical & Power to build the starter-generator system for the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, the companies have announced.

In a press release announcing the news, Safran said it will be supplying “an advanced high-voltage starter-generator system, capable of producing the power to meet the evolving electrical needs of military aircraft.”

The company said the system will feature a high-speed rotor and advanced power electronics. The system’s design, development and qualification will take place at the Safran Electrical & Power centers of excellence in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Sarasota, Florida.

“We are thrilled that Bell has selected our high voltage starter-generator as a single source to equip their innovative FLRAA platform,” said Joshua Haury, general manager of Twinsburg plant, Safran Electrical & Power. “This new agreement is a mark of confidence and strengthens decades of relationship with Bell on both commercial and military helicopters.”

Ryan Ehinger, senior vice president and program director for FLRAA at Bell, said: “Bell is committed to delivering performance, reliability, and affordability for our warfighters as we work alongside the Army to modernize its fleet. We are pleased to have Safran Electrical & Power on the team to offer their innovative solution for FLRAA’s starter-generator system.”

The FLRAA program aims to develop a replacement for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk in the U.S. Army fleet, and Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor was announced as the Army’s choice for the role in December 2022.

Since then, the OEM and has been working on an initial development contract. This seeks to define the Valor’s weapon system design, sustainment, digital enterprise, manufacturing, systems integration, flight testing, and airworthiness qualification.

When the preliminary design work on the aircraft’s production version is complete, it will be ready to enter Milestone B — and become an official program of record. This is scheduled for later this year. The Army has a Production Readiness Review for the program slated for 2027.

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