The US Army Aviation Technology Directorate (AATD) has selected the Sikorsky Aircraft and Boeing team to build a helicopter for the joint, multirole technology demonstrator (JMR TD) Phase I programme.
The team will continue the development of the SB>1 Defiant, a coaxial-rotor compound helicopter design based on Sikorsky’s X2 technology rotorcraft. Flight testing is scheduled for 2017.
Sikorsky president Mick Maurer said: "Defiant will use Sikorsky’s proven X2 technology to overcome aircraft design challenges, which will be critical requirements on future vertical-lift aircraft.
"The Sikorsky-Boeing team’s integrated approach has created a unique blend of expertise, innovative spirit and customer commitment."
"The complementary capabilities of each team member have delivered a design that will provide the best future vertical-lift solution to the US Army, and the flexibility of our design makes it suited for naval applications as well."
Boeing Military Aircraft president Shelley Lavender said: "As the original equipment manufacturers for both the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, we bring tremendous technological breadth and depth to the customer."
Capable of flying faster and farther than existing models, SB>1 Defiant is expected to feature counter-rotating rigid-main rotor blades for vertical and forward flight, a pusher propeller for high-speed acceleration and deceleration, as well as an advanced fly-by-wire flight control system.
A subset of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) joint future vertical-lift effort, the JMR programme aims to develop a family of helicopters with enhanced avionics, electronics, range, speed, propulsion, survivability, operating density altitudes and payload capacities.
The helicopters are expected to replace the army’s existing UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, as well as similar aircraft used by the navy, air force and Marine Corps, from 2030.
Image: A graphical representation of the future JMR configuration for the next-generation helicopter. Photo: courtesy of the US Army.