By Kyle Mizokami / Popular Mechanics: A contender to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk in U.S. military service just achieved first flight. The V-280 Valor tiltrotor lifted off the ground and briefly hovered, the first in a long and rigorous testing schedule. The V-280 uses new tiltrotor technology and will fly farther and faster than conventional helicopters it was designed to replace.
The first tiltrotor in three decades finally takes to the air.
The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter is the U.S. Army’s standard medium lift helicopter. The latest version, the UH-60M has a cruising speed of 151 knots, a combat range of 368 miles, and can carry up to twelve troops or a 9,000-pound slung load. While that’s impressive, the Black Hawk design was introduced in the early 1980s and cannot take advantage of all the new technological developments in vertical flight that have come about in the last 35 years.