The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter has completed its first long-endurance flight this week with the revolutionary rotorcraft. The helicopter flew 700 nautical miles (805 miles) from West Palm Beach, Florida, to Nashville to give U.S. Army Aviators a first-hand look at this impressive aircraft at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit.
At the summit, Army aviators will be able to see how Team DEFIANT is revolutionizing Future Vertical Lift, one of the Army’s top modernization priorities, with a focus on transforming the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program’s capabilities, production, and sustainment resulting in lower life cycle costs. The result is DEFIANT X, a complete weapon system that builds on the handling qualities and capabilities proven by the team’s technology demonstrator, SB>1 DEFIANT.
During the test, SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter used less than 50% of the engine power available and less than 50% of the propulsor torque that drives the aft push propeller. Sikorsky’s Bill Fell and Boeing’s Ed Henderscheid piloted SB>1 DEFIANT’s momentous 700-nautical miles trip from West Palm Beach, Florida, to Nashville. This is the first time the helicopter has traveled outside of the state of Florida.
“DEFIANT behaved flawlessly. Fuel burn was at or even less than what we expected,” said Boeing’s Ed Henderscheid, who piloted SB>1 DEFIANT’s momentous 700-nautical miles trip. “This 700-nautical mile trip is the culmination of three years of hard work on this program.”