The Bell D-292 was developed under the US Army's Advanced Composite Airframe Program (ACAP) which was a project to develop an all-composite helicopter fuselage considerably lighter and less costly to build than predominantly metal airframes in support of the LHX program. In February 1981, contracts were awarded to Sikorsky and Bell Helicopters, with Sikorsky submitting the S-75. Both companies were to build three airframes, one tool-proof article, one static-test article and a flight-test vehicle.
The Bell D-292 used the Avco Lycoming engines, transmission, two-bladed main and tail rotors, tailboom, vertical fin, and rotor pylon from the Bell 222. The new airframe replaced metal with composites for greater strength, reduced weight and both lower manufacturing and maintenance costs.
The D-292 serial number85-24371 flew for the first time on 30 August 1985 following delays due to funding and industrial problems.
This section requires expansion with: information on later D-292 history.. (September 2010)