Sikorsky Boeing unveil Defiant helicopter
Sikorsky-Boeing Team unveils first SB1 Defiant helicopter.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, and Boeing provided the first look at the SB1 Defiant helicopter, Dec. 26, 2018. The helicopter is participating in the U.S. Army's Joint Multi-Role technology demonstrator program to help the Army develop requirements for new utility helicopters expected to enter service in the early 2030s.

Sikorsky and Boeing have designed the Defiant for the Army’s attack and assault missions as well as the Marine Corps long-range transportation, infiltration and resupply missions. According to the companies, the next-gen helicopter is able to provide the right combination of speed, lift and range that are paramount to both the assault and attack missions while increasing overall maneuverability and agility. Developed with 85 percent commonality between attack and assault aircraft, the Defiant will reduce development and life-cycle costs and ensure minimal disruption or loss of existing rotorcraft expertise. Its open mission systems architecture allows rapid technology and capability insertion to meet evolving FVL requirements and provide the U.S. Military with evolutionary sustainability, affordability and readiness for years to come.

The aircraft’s capabilities are largely derived from the X2 rigid co-axial rotor system which has already proven its airworthiness through flights of the X2 and S-97 Raider. With two coaxial rotors on top that rotate in opposite directions, the extra lift from each rotor’s advancing blade balances out the diminished lift from the opposite side’s retreating blade to eliminate retreating blade stall. To provide the raw forward thrust for fast flight, the back of the Defiant mounts a pusher propulsor, allowing the aircraft to fly twice as fast and twice as far as today’s conventional helicopter while increasing the overall maneuverability and agility required for specific mission objectives. This additional flight component also provides unique and unmatched maneuverability in all flight regimes including hover, low-speed flight and high-speed flight.

Its main contender in the U.S. Army's Future Vertical Lift program is the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor that made the first flight about 1 year ago.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Sikorsky-Boeing Team

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