Bell Opens New Weapon Systems Integration Lab in Arlington

The facility will support the "safe, rapid, and efficient" integration and test of next-gen fly-by-wire tiltrotor and mission systems, using a modular open systems approach for the U.S. Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, Bell said.

Fort Worth-based Bell Textron has opened a new “state-of-the-art” Weapons Systems Integration Lab in Arlington.

The facility will support the “safe, rapid, and efficient” integration and test of next-gen fly-by-wire tiltrotor and mission systems, using a modular open systems approach for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), the company said.

“As part of our commitment to deliver the U.S. Army’s FLRAA capability to our nation’s warfighters, Bell is pleased to announce the opening of its latest systems integration lab,” Ryan Ehinger, SVP and director of Bell’s FLRAA program, said in a statement. “This dedicated SIL supports the application, verification and validation of Bell’s innovative digital engineering approach and open architecture, playing a critical role in delivering outstanding operational performance and versatility to the U.S. Army.”

Located at Bell’s Flight Research Facility in Arlington 

Bell opened its new Weapons Systems Integration Lab in Arlington earlier this month. [Photo: Bell]

In 2021, Bell began construction of the 47,000-square-foot facility to house future development programs at its Flight Research Facility in Arlington. The FLRAA WSIL is Bell’s fifth-generation System Integration Lab located at its Flight Research Center.

“Along with state and local community leaders, we’re proud to continue to invest in capabilities and our workforce that will deliver verifiably high-performance, reliable and affordable weapon systems,” Christopher Misner, strategic pursuits senior manager at Bell, said on LinkedIn. “Our team has proven we’re able to deliver leap-ahead, flight-proven performance and successfully complete rapid design, build and rigorous flight test programs.”

“The SILs are designed to quickly integrate and test mission and air vehicle system capabilities while also demonstrating sustainment capabilities to meet program requirements, enabling open and direct collaboration between government and industry partners,” Misner added.

Supports both manned and unmanned programs

This latest facility supports end-to-end integration of Bell’s fly-by-wire systems with state-of-the-art avionics, electrical, hydraulic, flight controls, and mission and sensor systems for multiple current and future programs, manned and unmanned, the company said.

“Were grateful for our partnership with Bell, [which] has made Arlington the home of its Flight Research Center for nearly six decades now,” Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said in a statement. “The Arlington Economic Devel’opment Corporation’s recent strategic investment shows our city’s continued commitment to supporting innovation right here in our backyard.”

Bell noted that its history with the city of Arlington spans over 55 years. Since 1967, the city has played a major role in supporting the innovation of flight-testing for new programs at Bell’s Flight Research Center.

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