Bell Helicopters (a Textron company) manufacturers of the tiltrotor V-22 Osprey that combines aspects of helicopter and airplane design into a single aircraft, is poised to cause waves with the U.S. Navy's new "TERN" vertical-landing and take-off drone program.
The drone is the Bell V-247 Vigilant. It weighs eight tons empty and carries up to 13,000 pounds of munitions and fuel under it's 65-foot wingspan and 30-foot rotor diameter. Vigilant is also being designed to carry MK-50 torpedoes for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, as well as Hellfire and JAGM missiles.
Vigilant will run on a single tiltrotor engine, be capable of flying at speeds up to 300 knots for as long as 11 hours at a time, and boasts a combat range of 450 nautical miles. The drone will also be capable of mid-air refueling to extend range and endurance. It is capable of landing on warships the size of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and larger.