Bell Textron selected for next phase of DARPA X-Plane programme


Bell Textron is moving to Phase 1B of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Speed and Runway Independent Technologies (SPRINT) X-Plane programme. 

The SPRINT programme intends to design, build, and fly an experimental aircraft. Also known as an X-Plane, it will demonstrate enabling technologies and integrated concepts necessary for a high-speed vertical take off or landing (HSVTOL) aircraft. 

In Phase 1A, Bell executed conceptual design review and will move into preliminary design efforts for the SPRINT X-Plane. The firm completed risk reduction testing at Holloman Air Force Base in late 2023, demonstrating folding rotor, integrated propulsion and flight control technologies.

Jason Hurst, executive vice president, Engineering, Bell said: “Bell is honoured to be selected for the next phase of this revolutionary program and ready to execute preliminary design. We completed our initial risk reduction efforts with our sled test demonstration at Holloman Air Force Base, and we look forward to building on this success with our continued work with DARPA.”  

Bell’s HSVTOL technology blends the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed (400+ kts), range and survivability of jet aircraft. Bell has developed high-speed vertical lift technology for more than 85 years, pioneering innovative VTOL configurations like the X-14, X-22, XV-3 and XV-15 for NASA, the US Army and US Air Force.