SB> 1 Defiant lifts the weight of a mobile rocket launcher



By Dan Parsons | July 23, 2021

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 54 seconds.

In a recent test, the Sikorsky-Boeing SB> 1 Defiant helicopter prototype lifted an external load representing a tracked guided rocket launcher.

The “mission relevant” demonstration involved moving a 5,300 pound (2,400 kilograms) training load, which replaced a US Army Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). That weight is also equivalent to an infantry squad vehicle or hundreds of thousands of rounds, according to Sikorsky.

The theft took place last week at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. In a short video posted online by Team Defiant, Defiant is seen hovering overhead, then lifting the training load using only its counter-rotating coaxial main rotors. The aircraft does not engage its propeller or hover with the load suspended from a long tether, held steady on the ground.

Team Defiant posted this video of the prototype performing an external sling load on July 22.

Defiant is the experimental prototype on which Sikorsky and Boeing base the Defiant X, their case for the army’s future long-range assault aircraft. The 30,000-pound (13,607 kg) Defiant X-class is advertised as having a carrying capacity of 12 soldiers, or 3,680 pounds (1,669 kg) of cargo.

The Defiant FLRAA Contest is the Bell V-280 Valor advanced tiltrotor, which can also carry a dozen troops. Bell says Valor, which demonstrated sling load testing at an undisclosed weight in December 2020, has a payload of 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg). After more than three years of continuous flight testing, Bell grounded the V-280 in June.

FLRAA will eventually replace the UH-60 Black Hawk, which can carry 9,000 pounds (4,080 kg) of supplies as an internal or external load at a maximum gross weight of 22,000 pounds (9,979 kg).

Defiant and Valor are both from the Joint Multirole Technology Demonstration (JMR-TD) program which has seen each operational prototype accumulate significant flight time and demonstrate speed and agility beyond the reach of conventional rotorcraft. In May, the Defiant passed 230 knots level. Valor flew at 300 knots. The two teams received an official tender in early July and are expected to present FLRAA planes based closely on their prototypes, as Sikorsky and Boeing have done with X provocative.

A winner will emerge in the second half of fiscal 2022, which begins October 1. The victorious FLRAA manufacturer will then have until mid-2026 to begin delivering planes, according to a program schedule presented in the Army’s budget documents for fiscal year 2022. A total of $ 448 million has been set aside. in this budget for the continued development of the FLRAA.


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