Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Sikorsky and Boeing reveal advanced assault helicopter for the U.S. Army

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, and Boeing have released the details of its DEFIANT X advanced military helicopter, which is being developed for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft competition, known as FLRAA. It will be the fastest, most maneuverable, and most survivable assault helicopter in history.

The objective of the FLRAA competition is to produce a medium-class multifunctional assault helicopter at twice the speed and range of current projects. DEFIANT X is based on the team’s technology demonstrator, SB>1 DEFIANT. With unmatched range and survivability, DEFIANT X will fly low and fast through complex terrain, land quickly and deliver soldiers and equipment to the objective area.

The military helicopter uses coaxial main rotors and a rear-mounted thruster. This eliminates the risk of loss of blade speed and uneven lifting forces at high speeds found in single rotor designs. It incorporates Sikorsky X2 Technology to operate at high speeds while maintaining low-speed handling qualities. This critical capability provides soldiers with increased maneuverability and survivability in high-threat air defense environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defenses while reducing exposure to enemy fire.

Designed to replace the Black Hawk helicopter, the Defiant X is very similar to its predecessor SB>1 DEFIANT, with the same basic design; although the nose is sharper, the more aerodynamic fuselage and the engine nacelle has been refined to reduce its thermal signature. Technical data has not yet been released, so it is not yet known whether the T55 engine has been replaced by a more advanced turbine.

We are ready to deliver unparalleled capabilities backed by proven technologies that will truly transform the Army’s mission today – with room to grow and adapt to the missions of tomorrow,” said Andy Adams, Sikorsky vice president of Future Vertical Lift. “DEFIANT X not only includes the transformational aircraft, mission systems, and revolutionary sustainment solution but also leverages Sikorsky’s and Boeing’s advanced manufacturing capabilities.”

DEFIANT X is purpose-built for a modernized Army that requires expanded reach, survivability, and lethality,” said Steve Parker, vice president, and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift. “This weapon system will give soldiers unequaled technological advantage and connectivity over adversaries in a multi-domain battlespace.”

The helicopter is being tested in a digital combat environment, while contracts resulting from the FLRAA competition are expected to be awarded in 2022. If selected by the Army, DEFIANT X will revolutionize the way the Army meets threats in 2035 and beyond.