The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant helicopter has successfully completed Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) mission profile tests.
The recent flight tests comprised low level flying and confined area landings and demonstrate the Defiant’s relevancy to the US Army’s FLRAA mission requirements which include, being agile at the objective location and increased survivability, while simultaneously reducing the aircrew’s workload.
Throughout the test flights, the Defiant achieved multiple objectives such as, turns greater than a 60-degree bank, exceeding 245kts in low level flight, demonstrating mission-relevant cargo capacity by lifting a 5,300Ib Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System external load, and finally, the demo helicopter demonstrated Level 1 low-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls.
Bill Fell, the Defiant's chief flight test pilot at Sikorsky said: “We fully demonstrated Defiant’s ability to execute the FLRAA mission profile by flying 236Kts in level flight, then reducing thrust on the propulsor to rapidly decelerate as we approached the confined, and unimproved, landing zone.
“This type of level body deceleration allowed us to maintain situational awareness and view the landing zone throughout the approach and landing without the typical nose-up helicopter deceleration. This confined area was extremely tight, requiring us to delay descent until nearly over the landing spot, followed by a near-vertical drop. We landed Defiant precisely on the objective with little effort as we descended into this narrow hole while maintaining clearance on all sides.”
The SB>1 Defiant is a demonstrator performing capabilities for the future Defiant X weapon system. This is Sikorsky-Boeing’s offering to the US Army's FLRAA competition as part of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift programme. Defiant X proposes to provide crews the capability to fly low and fast through complex terrain, where Army aviators spend most of their time in theatre. It will extend capabilities of Army aviation on the modern battlefield – and is designed leave the same footprint as the current Black Hawk but with double the range.