WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Monday, the U.S. Army announced that Bell Textron Inc. has been awarded the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) contract.

Bell Textron is an American aerospace manufacturer with a significant manufacturing facility in Wichita.

“The U.S. Army’s decision to award this contract to Bell Textron will directly benefit the workforce in Wichita and is a testament to the vital role of Kansans in our national security,” U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said.

The FLRAA program is part of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift initiative to replace a portion of its assault and utility helicopter fleet with the ultimate goal of replacing the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, which has been used for over 40 years. Bell Textron’s V-280 Valor aircraft is scheduled to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk by 2030.

“For the past several years the Bell team demonstrated the exceptional operational capabilities, digital thread synergies, and platform affordability enhancements the V-280 provides,” said Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “Bell stands ready with our world-class manufacturing facilities to apply our nearly seven decades of tiltrotor expertise to deliver a modern FLRAA fleet to the Army.”

The contract, worth up to $1.4 billion, refines the weapon system design, sustainment, digital enterprise, manufacturing, systems integration, flight-testing, and airworthiness qualification.

“This is an exciting time for the U.S. Army, Bell, and Team Valor as we modernize the Army’s aviation capabilities for decades to come,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell.

According to Sen. Moran, Wichita State University’s National Institution for Aviation Research will develop composite materials for the fuselage and rotors.

“We are honored that the U.S. Army has selected the Bell V-280 Valor as its next-generation assault aircraft,” said Scott C. Donnelly, Textron’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We intend to honor that trust by building a truly remarkable and transformational weapon system to meet the Army’s mission requirements. We are excited to play an important role in the future of Army Aviation.”