The mext generation of military helicopters is in design stages: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp and Boeing have been selected to build a helicopter for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator Phase 1 program (JMR TD), paving the way for the next generation of vertical lift aircraft.
According to news reports, the U.S. Army Aviation Technology Directorate (AATD) selected the Sikorsky-Boeing team to continue the development of the SB>1 Defiant, a medium-lift helicopter configured to Sikorsky’s X2™ coaxial design, through flight testing. First flight for the program is expected in 2017.
“Defiant will use Sikorsky’s proven X2 technology to overcome aircraft design challenges, which will be critical requirements on future vertical lift aircraft,” said Mick Maurer, Sikorsky president. “The Sikorsky-Boeing team’s integrated approach has created a unique blend of expertise, innovative spirit and customer commitment that are unmatched in the industry. The complementary capabilities of each team member have delivered a design that will provide the best future vertical lift solution to the U.S. Army, and the flexibility of our design makes it suited for naval applications as well. This is a major leap forward.”
This helicopter will feature counter-rotating rigid main rotor blades for vertical and forward flight, a pusher propeller for high-speed acceleration and deceleration and an advanced fly-by-wire flight control system.
“Our team brings leadership and new ways of thinking to aircraft development,” said Shelley Lavender, president of Boeing Military Aircraft. “As the original equipment manufacturers for both the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, we bring tremendous technological breadth and depth to the customer. I believe our technical capabilities and experience in development and flight testing of complex rotorcraft systems were a key factor in the customer’s decision.”
Currently, Sikorsky and Boeing together have delivered more than 3,000 helicopters to the Army in support of its challenging missions.
This design program supports the Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program to deliver the next generation of vertical lift aircraft with greater performance, reliability and affordability. The Defiant aircraft packages evolutionary technologies in a new, innovative and affordable design that flies faster, farther and with more payload.
The project offers Sikorsky and Boeing the opportunity to partner with the U.S. Government in demonstrating the maturity of advanced and enabling future vertical lift technologies. Sikorsky and Boeing formed their JMR team in January 2013, and each company has invested significantly in the program.