The Bell Valiants were produced in Marietta, Georgia, starting in November 1934. It is a small, agile fighter, ideal for dogfighting and able to out-turn almost any other aircraft. The Valiant is primarily used to protect fixed installations, as it requires a long runway for take off and a short operational range of 350 miles.
Despite its small turning circle and excellent acceleration, the Valiant's short operational range has relegated it to the role of point defense for Confederate forces. Valiants were used to devastating effect against Appalachian bandits during the mid 1930s, primarily because the pirates wrote off the Valiants as being too short-legged to pose a threat.
Outside of Dixie, the Bell Valiant Mk II is also found in the service of the Republic of Texas, Utah, and Arixo. A new Bell factory in Burlington in former Vermont in the Maritime Provinces anticipates the spread of the Valiant in the Provinces and Quebec as well.
In the Crimson Skies universe, the Bell Valiant is one of several aircraft to be advertised on the game's official website without ever actually appearing in-game, there is a rumor that game files may exist for the Bell Valiant Mk II.
Originally designed by and built in the Confederation of Dixie by Bell, the Valiant Mk I featured a single Pratt & Whitney P7 750hp engine, which failed to give it the acceleration and top speed to make it comeptitive with other fighters of its time. The Mk I with its underpowered engine was sent back to the drawing board and reborn as the Mk II, the P7 engine having been replaced by a powerful 950hp Rolls Royce Morgana. Shortly after its production began, all Mk I's were fitted with the new Morgana engine as well.
Despite being small, fast, and nimble, the Bell Valiant Mk II suffers from a few points in its design. It is most affected in the area of weaponry, where the Valiant falls short due to the trade-off between agility and strength. Its size also prevents it from having a range of longer than 350 miles, removing it from the patrol or loitering duties necessary when tending to escorting zeppelins or partaking in long range interdictions. Instead, it serves mainly as a point defense fighter.
The Valiant's versatility is further affected by its pusher-prop and cruciform tail configurations. In order to prevent striking the propeller on takeoff or landing, the pilot cannot angle the nose up more than ten degrees, a shallow angle compared to the usual thirty to forty-five of pull-prop aircraft. This restriction demands the use of a long runway so the pilot has adequate space to gain and bleed speed on takeoff and landing respectively. Thankfully, this problem has no bearing on zeppelin docking operations, which Valiant pilots find quite easy to handle.
"It might be small and lightly armed, but don't bet against this agile little blighter." —Pilot officer Michael Kirk Rawlins, RAF liaison to the Dixie Confederacy
The Valiant's goal of being a light and agile fighter meant sacrificing firepower. Adorned with only six Springfield Mark IV .30-caliber machine guns, most Valiant pilots find that magnesium rounds and rockets are necessary for an effective loadout. Valiant pilots like the Alabama Mud Hoppers, a private militia based out of Mobile, have demonstrated a compensation for the plane's low armor and weaponry through close teamwork, namely in the form of pack-hunting tactics. Having faced off several times against the Louisiana-based Chapeau d'Or Squadron and their stronger but slower Morane-Saulnier MS382s, the Mud Hoppers have used the element of surprise in conjunction with boom-and-zoom tactics to take down lone pairs of the French fighters, usually while in flights of six Valiants or more.
- Crimson Skies