The Futuristic 'Defiant X' is competing for the U.S. Army's contract as the next high-tech helicopter. It will be fast and with new rotor technology never before seen on convention helicopters.
Next-generation helicopters or rotorcraft of the U.S. Army will be based on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). Winners of the contract will replace current helicopters in use with the U.S. Army.
The next-generation helicopter
Officials of Sikorsky and Boeing have revealed their next-generation helicopter with a coaxial rotor. It has similarities to the SB1 Defiant, but the manufacturer has added more upgrades that will serve the troops when flying into combat, reported the Military.
According to Heather McBryan of Boeing's Vertical Lift program, the Defiant's changes include a new reduced thermal signature and a streamlined shape for higher speeds. She revealed these details in an announcement.
Part of the Army contract is to choose the best Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft or FLRAA, Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft or FARA, which are vital components in the category of Future Vertical Lift initiative, or VFL. The next-gen helicopter should be able to do these missions if chosen by the army.
What will the new helicopter replace?
The Futuristic 'Defiant X' will be taking the place of UH-60 Black Hawks and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, which are getting old. One of the competitors of Sikorsky-Boeing is the Bell Textron's V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft as another option. When all trials on the Bell and Sikorsky-Boeing are completed, the contract will be in 2022.
Not all the details on all of the upgrades done on the Defiant are revealed by the builder. One modification includes a modified exhaust system connected to lessen how the heat makes it more visible to electronic equipment, installing landing gear in tricycle configuration. This gives stability when landing and running on runways either in combat or non-combat environment.
Designed for speed
The Defiant uses Sikorsky's X2 technology that was first tested on the SB1, which tried out this experimental design based on a compound helicopter type. As more requirements were added, so were the upgrades developed for this next generation helicopter.
One of the X2 technology benefits will be flying twice as fast as a Black Hawk UH-69, said Jay Macklin, who is the director of business development responsible for the Future Vertical Lift program.
The exact speed of the Defiant is a secret that Sikorsky-Boeing does not want to tell yet. Based on flight tests, it went as fast as 211 knots in October; when in descent, it can hit 232 knots.
Getting the Defiant up to specification, all engineers worked on the airframe with 1,500 simulation hours and other tests relevant to check if the new helicopter can win the contract.
Systems in the Defiant
The controls for flying is a semi-automatic, electronic avionics system with sophisticated systems to fly it. Overall, the helicopter is designed for upgrade with equipment when needed. It will not get old too fast.