The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter flew more than 100 knots in a Jan. 13 flight test, according to press reports.
“100 knots and counting! We’re developing technologies for the U.S. Army that will make #SB1Defiant the fastest, most advanced military helicopter ever,” Boeing Defense’s Twitter account announced on 17 January.
The new helicopter also maneuvered at 30-degree bank turns during the flight in a test of its agility at the Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky’s Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The helicopter is participating in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role-Medium Technology Demonstrator program. Data from DEFIANT will help the Army develop requirements for new utility helicopters expected to enter service in the early 2030s.
The company’s website said the Defiant is a fully integrated aircraft that represents an evolution of the military’s most capable platforms. Designed for the Army’s attack and assault missions as well as the Marine Corps long-range transportation, infiltration and resupply missions, the SB 1 Defiant is uniquely suited to provide the warfighter with unmatched capabilities for the U.S. Military’s various missions.
Sikorsky and Boeing have designed the SB 1 Defiant to provide the right combination of speed, lift and range that are paramount to both the assault and attack missions while increasing overall maneuverability and agility. Developed with 85 percent commonality between attack and assault aircraft, the Defiant will reduce development and life-cycle costs and ensure minimal disruption or loss of existing rotorcraft expertise. Its open mission systems architecture allows rapid technology and capability insertion to meet evolving FVL requirements and provide the U.S. Military with evolutionary sustainability, affordability and readiness for years to come.
The aircraft’s capabilities are largely derived from the X2 rigid co-axial rotor system which has already proven its airworthiness through flights of the X2 and S-97 Raider. With two coaxial rotors on top that rotate in opposite directions, the extra lift from each rotor’s advancing blade balances out the diminished lift from the opposite side’s retreating blade to eliminate retreating blade stall. To provide the raw forward thrust for fast flight, the back of the Defiant mounts a pusher propulsor, allowing the aircraft to fly twice as fast and twice as far as today’s conventional helicopter while increasing the overall maneuverability and agility required for specific mission objectives. This additional flight component also provides unique and unmatched maneuverability in all flight regimes including hover, low-speed flight and high-speed flight.
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) January 17, 2020