Watch: Sikorsky-Boeing Conduct First Army Air Assault Mission With Very Unusual Helicopter

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Jan 29, 2022 - 03:40 AM

The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing team completed mission profile flight tests for the Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition. 

The flights were conducted with the Defiant X, a co-axial helicopter that derives most of its forward thrust from a tail-mounted propeller. Earlier this month, it flew its first mission profile of low-level flight operations and confined area landings.

"We fully demonstrated Defiant's ability to execute the FLRAA mission profile by flying 236 knots in level flight, then reducing thrust on the propulsor to rapidly decelerate as we approached the confined, and unimproved, landing zone," said Bill Fell, Defiant chief flight test pilot at Sikorsky and a retired U.S. Army Master aviator.

"This type of level body deceleration allowed us to maintain situational awareness and view the landing zone throughout the approach and landing without the typical nose-up helicopter deceleration. This confined area was extremely tight, requiring us to delay descent until nearly over the landing spot, followed by a near-vertical drop. We landed Defiant precisely on the objective with little effort as we descended into this narrow hole while maintaining clearance on all sides," Fell said. 

YouTube video released by "Team Defiant," dated Jan. 18, shows the helicopter flying at low-altitude operations in a wooded area at low-level speeds. It will fly soldiers and cargo into battle at more than double the speed of the Army's current helicopters. 

Defiant is competing with the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft for the FLRAA program. By the end of the decade, one of these high-tech helicopters could replace the Army's convention helicopters, like the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.