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Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT Maiden Flight

Twice the Speed, Twice the Range

The revolutionary SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter, developed by Sikorsky (a Lockheed Martin company) and Boeing, achieved its maiden flight on 21 March at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, FL site.

The aircraft will help inform the next generation of military helicopters as part of the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift programme, the companies stated in a press release.

“DEFIANT is designed to fly at nearly twice the speed and has twice the range of conventional helicopters while retaining the very best, if not better low-speed and hover performance of conventional helicopters,” commented Vice President, Sikorsky Future Vertical Lift, Dan Spoor. “This design provides for exceptional performance in the objective area, where potential enemy activity places a premium on maneouvrability, survivability and flexibility.”

With its two coaxial main rotors and rear-mounted pusher propulsor, DEFIANT is unlike current production rotorcraft. It represents a leap forward in technology to achieve user desire for vast increases in speed and range, while improving maneouvrability and survivability in a cost-effective way. The aircraft’s use of X2 technology will allow the Army to penetrate from strategic standoff distances and exploit gaps created in complex Anti-Access Area Denial(A2/AD) systems against near-peer adversaries.

“The design and development of DEFIANT has revealed the capability advancement that is truly possible for Future Vertical Lift,” explained Vice President and General Manager, Boeing Vertical Lift, David Koopersmith. “Clearly, the performance, speed, and agility of DEFIANT will be a game-changer on the battlefield and we look forward to demonstrating for the US Army the tremendous capabilities of this aircraft.”

The helicopter is participating in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role-Medium Technology Demonstrator programme. Data from DEFIANT will help the Army develop requirements for new utility helicopters expected to enter service in the early 2030s. This flight marks a key milestone for the Sikorsky-Boeing team, and is the culmination of significant design, simulation and test activity to further demonstrate the capability of X2 technologies. These technologies are scalable to a variety of military missions, such as attack and assault, long-range transport, infiltration and resupply. DEFIANT is the third X2-based aircraft in less than ten years.

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