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Sikorsky-Boeing Team Reveal DEFIANT X

Candidate for US Army FLRAA

Sikorsky and Boeing released details of a joint enhanced helicopter as candidate for the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition on 25 January. The companies claim DEFIANT X “will be the fastest, most maneuverable and most survivable assault helicopter in history,” revolutionizing the Army’s ability to confront threats in 2035 and beyond.

DEFIANT X is a complete weapon system that builds on the handling qualities and transformational capabilities proven by the team’s technology demonstrator, the SB>1 DEFIANT. With unmatched range and survivability, DEFIANT X will change the way the Army fights – enabling crews to fly low and fast through complex terrain, land quickly, deliver soldiers and equipment to the objective area (often referred to as ‘the X’) and get out.

It will fly twice as far and fast as the venerable BLACK HAWK helicopter it is designed to replace. Currently undergoing testing in a digital combat environment, the aircraft continues to prove itself the most survivable platform for mission requirements.

“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’s VP of Future Vertical Lift. “DEFIANT X not only includes the transformational aircraft – a maneuverable, survivable, lethal weapon system – it also leverages Sikorsky’s and Boeing’s advanced manufacturing capabilities.”

With its rigid coaxial rotor system and pusher propeller, DEFIANT X incorporates Sikorsky X2 Technology to operate at high speeds while maintaining low-speed handling qualities. This critical capability provides soldiers with increased manoeuvrability and survivability in high-threat air defence environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defences while reducing exposure to enemy fire. Compared to the SB>1 DEFIANT, the DEFIANT X airframe has enhancements to improve aerodynamics and reduce thermal signature.

DEFIANT X is purpose-built for a modernized Army that requires expanded reach, survivability and lethality,” commented Steve Parker, VP/General Manager of Boeing Vertical Lift. “This weapon system will give soldiers unequalled technological advantage and connectivity over adversaries in a multi-domain battle space.”

DEFIANT X will revolutionize the Army’s air assault capability with limited changes in tactics, techniques, procedures, training and infrastructure while maintaining the BLACK HAWK’s footprint and tight formation capability. The US Army is expected to release a request for proposal for FLRAA later this year, with a contract award expected in 2022.

For a brief video of the DEFIANT X programme, click here.

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