Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the joint effort working on the U.S. Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition have selected Honeywell for supplying the engines for the Defiant X helicopters. Under this agreement, Honeywell will provide its latest HTS7500 turboshaft engines, the company said in a press release.
The U.S. Army initiated the FLRAA program in 2019 to bring in the next generation of utility helicopters that will replace the Black Hawks starting 2030. Lockheed Martin and Boeing teamed up in 2021 and presented their concept, Defiant X, which is built to be twice as fast as the Black Hawks without radically changing the helicopter's footprint or demands from existing infrastructure.
Delivering more than legacy
The team at Defiant is relying on Honeywell's expertise in building engines to power its futuristic helicopters. Honeywell's T55 engines are quite well known and have powered the Ch-47 Chinook helicopters for about seven decades. Building further on this legacy, Honeywell's HTS7500 engine promises an increased power output by as much as 42 percent over the T55. Impressively, it achieves this feat while consuming up to 18 percent less fuel compared to the T55 while also promising a low cost of maintenance.
While Honeywell's engine architecture is combat-proven and well demonstrated in the field, it has also demonstrated sand ingestion tolerance making it versatile for operations in extremely demanding environments. The HTS7500 delivers 7,000 SHP of power with a higher power-to-weight ratio as compared to any other engine in its class, the company claims. It is likely to help the Defiant work its magic in touch spots as was seen during its recent trials.
"We’re committed to the U.S. Army’s focus on modernization and multidomain operations, and the selection of Honeywell’s latest engine technology for the DEFIANT X is proof of that commitment," said Ricky Freeman, who is the president of defense and space at Honeywell Aerospace, in the press release. "The HTS7500 checks all the right boxes for the Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing team and the Army, and we are excited to play a part in the future of vertical lift for our Army customer and Team DEFIANT."