The Sikorsky-Boeing team released the following statement on the early submittal of the proposal for DEFIANT X for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). The Sikorsky–Boeing SB-1 Defiant (stylized as “SB>1”; company designation S-100) is the Sikorsky Aircraft and Boeing entry for the United States Army’s Future Vertical Lift program, succeeding the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) initiative. It is a compound helicopter with rigid coaxial rotors, powered by two Honeywell T55s, and made its first flight on 21 March 2019.DEFIANT X is designed for fleet reliability and availability, including long maintenance-free operating periods, real-time vehicle heath management and fewer parts.
This statement can be attributed to Paul Lemmo, president, Sikorsky, and to Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager, Vertical Lift, Boeing Defense, Space & Security: “Continuing a 75-year partnership with the U.S. Army, providing and sustaining the iconic BLACK HAWK, Chinook and Apache, the Sikorsky-Boeing team looks to the future with the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft – DEFIANT X. Today, Team DEFIANT completed and submitted the proposal for the U.S. Army’s FLRAA competition, offering low-risk, transformational capability that delivers on an Army critical modernization priority and advances the future of Army aviation. DEFIANT X delivers speed where it matters, survivability, unsurpassed power, maneuverability, superior handling in any environment and lower lifecycle costs – while operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK. We are confident that DEFIANT X, supported by our longstanding Army industrial base suppliers, is the best choice for delivering overmatch on the Multi-Domain Operational battlefield in INDOPACOM and across the globe.”
Sikorsky–Boeing states the SB-1 will be quick and nimble, with fast acceleration and deceleration, fast side-to-side movement, and the capability to hover with the tail up and nose down. The Defiant demonstrator will be powered by the Honeywell T55, which powers the CH-47 Chinook. It will be slightly modified to better operate at slower propeller speeds, down to 85% rpm.Sikorsky and Boeing state the design is to have a cruise speed of 250 kn (290 mph; 460 km/h), but less range due to using the “old” T55 engine. A new engine, the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE), is to meet the radius requirement of 229 nmi (264 mi; 424 km). Compared to conventional helicopters, the counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and pusher propeller offer a 100-knot (115 mph; 185 km/h) speed increase, a 60% combat radius extension, and 50% better performance in high-hot hover performance.
The Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program was initiated by the United States Army in 2019 to develop a successor to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter as part of the Future Vertical Lift program. The UH-60, developed in the early 1970s, has been in service since June 1979. Like the UH-60, FLRAA variants would also serve United States Special Operations Command and the United States Marine Corps. Under the existing Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program, the Army has been gathering data from flying prototype designs that could fill the FLRAA role. The U.S. Army posted a request for information (RFI) in April 2019, which was intended to identify interested manufacturers. According to the RFI, the Army plans to bring the FLRAA into service in 2030, in anticipation of retiring the UH-60 after a 50-year life.