In a quest to prove out what’s designed to be the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced military helicopter, the SB>1 DEFIANT dashed through another major milestone, exceeding 100 knots airspeed (115 mph) in level flight.
Teams at Boeing and Sikorsky are flight testing DEFIANT as part of the U.S. Army’s risk reduction efforts for future vertical lift aircraft. DEFIANT also performed maneuvers at up to 30 degree bank angles during the flight.
Later this year, the revolutionary aircraft is expected to reach 250 knots (290 mph) through the use of an innovative rear-mounted propulsor system, meeting the Army’s urgent need for previously unattainable speed and range in existing military helicopters. The DEFIANT flight test program will also demonstrate maneuverability aimed at penetrating and surviving advanced defenses in combat situations.
The Sikorsky-Boeing team has submitted its proposal for the next phase in the program, the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction program, expected to be awarded in March.
Data from the DEFIANT program will help the Army develop requirements for new assault aircraft expected to enter service in the early 2030s. The other major participant in the program is Bell, which is developing and flying a tiltrotor aircraft called the V-280.