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Defiant X: New Generation Military Helicopter (Replacing “Black Hawk”) completes Long-Endurance Flight To Nashville!

After three years of proving its transformational flight capabilities, the Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT® helicopter arrived in Nashville this week to give U.S. Army Aviators a first-hand look at this impressive aircraft at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit.

Army aviators at the summit will be able to see how Team DEFIANT is revolutionizing Future Vertical Lift, one of the Army’s top modernization priorities, with a focus on transforming the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program’s capabilities, production and sustainment resulting in lower-life cycle costs. The result is DEFIANT X® a complete ωɛλρσɳ system that builds on the handling qualities and capabilities proven by the team’s technology demonstrator, SB>1 DEFIANT®.

“When Sikorsky and Boeing embarked on the DEFIANT journey, we were mission focused and thinking ahead to creating a holistic ωɛλρσɳ system that would give America’s Soldiers a strategic advantage to deter and defeat threats well into the 21st century,” said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. “DEFIANT ensures our aviators are confident and prepared for what’s ahead and gives them the agility to adapt to evolving threats.”

“This monumental flight further proves the maturity of the DEFIANT design and that it is ready to support the Army’s future long-range assault missions,” said Mark Cherry, Boeing Vice President and General Manager of Vertical Lift. “Just as SB>1 DEFIANT flew safely over multiple states from Florida to Tennessee, DEFIANT X will safely fly and meet all of our customer’s objectives.”

Sikorsky’s Bill Fell and Boeing’s Ed Henderscheid piloted SB>1 DEFIANT’s momentous 700-nautical miles trip from West Palm Beach, Florida, to Nashville. This is the first time the helicopter has traveled outside of the state of Florida.’

“On the trip from West Palm Beach to Nashville, DEFIANT used less than 50 percent of the engine power available and less than 50 percent of the propulsor torque,” Fell said. “There’s a lot more that this machine has to offer. This is the future of Army aviation.”

“DEFIANT behaved flawlessly. Fuel burn was at or even less than what we expected,” Henderscheid said. “This 700-nautical mile trip is the culmination of three years of hard work on this program.”

DEFIANT X® is the new Sikorsky-Boeing helicopter and one of two candidates to replace the 40-year-old UH-60 Black Hawk under the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. But here are some things you may not know about this exciting new rotorcraft.

1.“X” marks the spot. The X designation refers to the helicopter’s ability to “fly low and fast, land quickly, deliver soldiers to the X (the objective) and get out.”

2.Together, Sikorsky and Boeing have built more than 90% of the Army’s current military rotorcraft – including the Black Hawk – which have recorded more than 15 million flight hours.

3.The new aircraft is designed to fly twice as fast and twice as far as the Black Hawk and has been dubbed “the fastest, most maneuverable and most survivable assault helicopter in history.”

4.Its speed and range are enabled by Honeywell’s advanced HTS7500 turboshaft engine, the newest and most technologically-advanced military turboshaft.

5.Honeywell engines have been powering Army helicopters, including the legendary CH-47 Chinook, for more than 60 years.

6.The DEFIANT X can travel at speeds of 247 knots or more and fly twice as far as a Black Hawk without needing to refuel.

7.The DEFIANT X’s coaxial rotor system and pusher prop allow for a high degree of maneuverability in and around the objective, which is directly linked to survivability.

8.During recent tests, the dual-engine DEFIANT SB>1 demonstrated single-engine operations, which highlighted the added survivability of the aircraft should an engine sustain combat damage.

9.It also lifted a 5,300-pound training load, which is comparable in weight to hundreds of thousands of rounds ammunition or more than 600 gallons of water.

10.The Honeywell HTS7500 takes engine performance and efficiency to a whole new level. It’s 42% more powerful than our previous-generation T55-714A turboshaft.

11.The DEFIANT SB>1 demonstrator flies with two Honeywell T55-714A engines.

12.FLRAA is a key capability within the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) ecosystem and FVL is one of the Army’s top six modernization efforts.

13.DEFIANT X is designed to meet the Army’s requirement to provide air assault and MEDEVAC support in a contested and ever-changing environment.

14.DEFIANT X incorporates Sikorsky X2™ Technology to operate at high speeds while maintaining low-speed handling qualities.

15.The Army expects to make a decision on the FLRAA award later this year.

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