Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky and Boeing have revealed their SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter for the first time.
The team’s medium-class technology demonstrator is taking part in the US Army’s joint multi-role (JMR) technology demonstrator (TD) phase 1-air vehicle development programme.
SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter has been developed based on Sikorsky’s X2 Technology rotorcraft design.
It features 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.
In November 2011, the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) released the JMR TD programme solicitation.
The team was selected to build a helicopter for the JMR TD programme in August 2014.
According to the companies, the DEFIANT helicopter provides advanced agility and manoeuvrability and is capable of flying at double the speeds and range of modern conventional helicopters.
The helicopter is serving as the lead to help inform the next generation of new utility military helicopters.
The US Army will develop requirements for new utility helicopters based on the data from the SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter. The new aircraft are expected to enter service in the early 2030s.
Sikorsky and Boeing formed their JMR team in January 2013 with each company investing significantly in the programme. The companies also partnered on the medium-lift aircraft for the US Government’s Future Vertical Lift Program of Record.
The Request for Proposal for the medium-lift aircraft is anticipated to be issued this year. The Future Vertical Lift aircraft is expected to replace both the UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopter and AH-64 Apache gunship.
Both the JMR TD programme and the Future Vertical Lift initiative play major roles in the development of the US Department of Defense’s rotorcraft fleet.