The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT™ helicopter achieved first flight last Thursday at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida site and already Lockheed Martin execs are touting it as a contender for Australia’s future needs.
CAPTION: Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT™ on its first flight at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida, facility. Lockheed Martin photo. Watch video below.
This revolutionary aircraft, developed by Sikorsky, now owned by Lockheed Martin Company, and Boeing, will help inform the next generation of military helicopters as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift program.
Following the announcement of DEFIANT’s first flight, the Director of Business Development, Rotary Mission Systems, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, Neale Prescott said the first flight of the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter was an exciting milestone, not just for the revolutionary leap in rotary-wing technology it represents, but because it was a first glimpse of what might one day be an Australian Defence Force capability.
“The ADF has a strong track record of operating Sikorsky products across both land and maritime domains,” Mr Prescott said.
“DEFIANT will be ready at the time when Australia will have a need for a new vertical lift capability with what we anticipate will be similar characteristics to the US program in terms of range, speed and payload.”
Dan Spoor, vice president, Sikorsky Future Vertical Lift, said DEFIANT was designed to fly at nearly twice the speed and twice the range of conventional helicopters while retaining the very best, if not better low-speed and hover performance of conventional helicopters.
“This design provides for exceptional performance in the objective area, where potential enemy activity places a premium on maneuverability, survivability and flexibility,” Mr Spoor said.
“We are thrilled with the results of today’s flight and look forward to an exciting flight-test program.”
SB>1 DEFIANT™ is participating in the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role-Medium Technology Demonstrator program that will help the Army develop requirements for new utility helicopters expected to enter service in the early 2030s.
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