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Leonardo, Bell Team Up on Next-Generation Rotorcraft Concept Study Proposal

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Bell Textron has agreed to support Leonardo in developing a next-generation rotorcraft concept study proposal for NATO

In a press release, Leonardo said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Bell to study in which areas they can create opportunities to collaborate on tiltrotor technology.

Lisa Atherton, president and CEO at Bell, said the companies have a shared vision that tiltrotor will shape the next-generation rotorcraft, citing the speed, range and maneuverability the technology offers.

The two companies announced the partnership after the NATO Support and Procurement Agency released a request for proposals for the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability program, under which three companies will be selected to conduct and complete concept studies by late 2025.

According to a FlightGlobal report, the NGRC program aims to identify a rotary-wing aircraft fit to replace thousands of legacy helicopters in the 2040s. Other companies expected to submit NGRC proposals include Airbus Helicopters and Sikorsky.

Before Bell and Leonardo signed the MOU, David Alfano, head of next-generation military rotorcraft at Airbus Helicopters, said his company was open to submitting a joint bid with Leonardo.

Sikorsky also expressed interest in participating in the NGRC requirement. Luigi Piantadosi, director of future vertical lift international at Sikorsky, said the company’s X2 rotorcraft speed, maneuverability and survivability meet NATO’s required capabilities.

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