The Bell Eagle Eye
, Model 918, is a United States tiltrotor unmanned aerial vehicle
that was offered as one of the competitors in the U.S. Navy
's VT-UAV (Vertical Takeoff - UAV) program.
The Eagle Eye program began in 1993 with the TR911X
7/8th scale prototype
. The composite
airframe was originally designed and built for Bell by the California
research company Scaled Composites
. The two demonstrator aircraft were powered by an Allison 250-C20 turboshaft
engine mounted in the center fuselage
, with a transmission system driving a tilting rotor
at the end of each wing.
The aircraft had its maiden flight on March 6, 1998, and then entered a flight test program. Phase 1, or land-based operations testing, was completed in April 1998. Phase 2 (sea-based testing) started shortly after that. The first prototype was destroyed in an accident, but the second successfully completed the test program.
These successes led to the entry into the Deepwater
program in 2002 and construction of the full size vehicle, called the TR918
, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D
Bell had promoted the Eagle Eye for a decade without finding a buyer, but in the summer of 2002, the United States Coast Guard
ordered the UAV as part of the service's broad Deepwater re-equipment effort. The Coast Guard machine will be slightly scaled up from the company demonstrator, and will be designated as Bell......