The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant successfully completed test flights of the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) mission profile, including confined area landings and low-level flight operations. These flights validate Defiant’s suitability for the Army mission, providing on-target agility (also known as “X”) and increased survivability, while reducing pilot workload.
“We have fully demonstrated Defiant’s ability to execute the FLRAA mission profile by flying at 236 knots in level flight, then reducing thrust on the thruster to decelerate rapidly as it approaches the confined and unconfined landing zone. improved,” said Bill Fell, Defiant’s flight test manager. pilot at Sikorsky and a retired U.S. Army Airman Master, in a Lockheed Martin Sikorsky press release. “This type of horizontal body deceleration allowed us to maintain situational awareness and see the landing zone throughout the approach and landing without the typical pitch-up helicopter deceleration. This confined area was extremely narrow, requiring us to delay the descent until almost above the landing point, followed by a nearly vertical drop.We landed Defiant precisely on target with little effort as we descend into this narrow hole while maintaining clearance on all sides.
SB>1 Defiant is the technology demonstrator proving the transformation capabilities of the Defiant X weapon system, proposed by the Sikorsky-Boeing team for the US Army’s FLRAA competition under the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program . Defiant X will allow aircrews to fly low and fast over complex terrain, where Army Airmen spend most of their time. It will extend the capabilities of Army aviation on the modern battlefield – and is designed to fit into the same footprint as a Black Hawk. With Defiant X, the US military will deliver troops and cargo in future battles at twice the range of the current fleet.
“That’s what we call building combat power quickly, and planes like the Defiant X can do that,” said Tony Crutchfield, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and now vice president of communications systems. the army at Boeing. “In the Pacific, this is all the more important as your lines of operation will be dispersed over a large area; you’re going to have these little bases and supply lines that will be positioned either on ships or on islands. You’re going to want to move more assets, maneuver in confined terrain, and survive to build that combat power faster than your opponent can – so you can win.
Defiant X incorporates Sikorsky X2 technology to operate at high speeds while maintaining low speed handling qualities. This essential capability provides pilots with increased maneuverability and survivability in high-risk environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defenses while reducing exposure to enemy fire. The Defiant X’s coaxial X2 rotor system and thrust propeller allow for a high degree of maneuverability in and around the target, which also directly relates to survivability.
Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft – such as the helicopter – to seize and hold key terrain that has not been fully secured and to directly engage enemy forces behind enemy lines. In addition to regular infantry training, air assault units typically receive training in rappelling, fast rope techniques, and airlift, and their equipment is sometimes designed or modified in the field to allow better transportation in aircraft.
U.S. Army Field Manual FM 1-02 (FM 101-5-1) describes an “air assault operation” as an operation in which assault forces (combat, combat support, and service support battlefield), using firepower, mobility and full integration of airborne assets, maneuver on the battlefield under the control of the ground or air maneuver commander to engage and destroy enemy forces or to seize and hold key terrain usually behind enemy lines.
Due to helicopter carry load restrictions, air assault forces are generally light infantry, although some armored fighting vehicles, such as the Russian BMD-1, are designed to fit most heavy-lift helicopters, which allows assault forces to combine air mobility with some degree. soil mechanization. Invariably, assault troops rely heavily on aerial fire support provided by armed helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft escorting them.
The following video features the latest Defiant flight tests.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing