WASHINGTON — Bell Helicopter is dropping “Helicopter” from its company name to reflect that it’s more than just a chopper manufacturer, according to a Feb. 22 company announcement.
And with that change, Bell has a new logo.
The name change shows the company’s evolution from a helicopter company into something broader and more innovative. Bell doesn’t want to just be seen as a helicopter company but as a company that is redefining flight.
“Bell has always been about more than just helicopters,” company president and CEO Mitch Snyder said in a statement. “Our team has spent the past 80 years pushing the boundaries of flight and now we will accurately reflect that quest.”
The new logo features a dragonfly on a shield. “The dragonfly can take off and land wherever it wants, fly quickly and efficiently in any direction, and hover at will. It represents the mastery of flight, something Bell strives to achieve,” Snyder said.
Bell has had to do much transforming in the past several years, particularly following the U.S. Army’s retirement of the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior from its aviation fleet, leaving the company with no fielded helicopters through the Army.
But new opportunities are on the rise, particularly the Army and Marine Corps’ plan to build a Future Vertical Lift aircraft.
Bell has come a long way from designing the Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey tiltrotor on big, blueprint drawings to its V-280 Valor tiltrotor demonstrator in a digital environment.
The V-280 Valor has begun test flights as part of an Army demonstration ahead of an FVL program.
The Joint Multi-Role program kicked off several years ago with Bell and a Sikorsky-Boeing team both designing and building vertical-lift demonstrators that will be tested over the course of a year. The tests will inform the joint requirements for an FVL family of aircraft expected to come online in the 2030s.
The rebranding marks the first time Bell has done so since it was purchased by Textron in 1960.
Robert Hastings, Bell’s executive vice president and chief of staff, told Defense News roughly a year ago that the company was laser-focused on innovation. At the time, Snyder had been at his desk for roughly eight months but had already shifted the focus of the company.
“We are investing a lot in innovation and technology these days and things take time, but you are going to see the result of that pretty soon,” Hastings said.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.