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The New Defiant X Helicopter Could Fly at Twice the Speed of Black Hawks

At velocities that rival modern jets.

The New Defiant X Helicopter Could Fly at Twice the Speed of Black Hawks
The Defiant X in flight. Lockheed Martin

With high-profile aircraft like Black Hawk, Apache, and Chinook, in its kitty, one would think that the U.S. military had little to worry about. But military suppliers Boeing and Lockheed Martin are preparing for decades into the future and have teamed up to roll out Defiant X

Developing it for the U.S. Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, the team at Defiant is aiming for the aircraft to fly twice as fast as the current Black Hawks without changing much of their footprint and making them compatible with the existing infrastructure. 

Equipped with a coaxial rotor system that consists of composite rigid blades, Defiant is designed to fly low but fast through complex terrain. Using Sirkosky's proprietary X2 Technology, the helicopter offers high maneuverability in high threat environments and improves survivability by reducing exposure to enemy fire. The team demonstrated this ability recently when it clocked 247 knots flying alongside a jet aircraft, compared to the currently in-use Black Hawks that can reach speeds of 193 knots. 

A pusher prop at the rear of the aircraft provides higher acceleration and deceleration, improving flight maneuverability to dominate Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) in the future.

With a cabin space for 12 combat troops or 3,680 pounds (1,670 kg) of cargo, the Defiant X will fit right in the U.S. military, carrying out tasks just like Black Hawks but twice as faster. Aiding the process of high-speed transport is the retractable landing gear designed to reduce the parasitic drag. 

As a future-ready helicopter, the fly-by-wire controls will not only deliver high stability and control but also reduce workload for the future crew as more operations will become autonomous. 

The Defiant team is also aiming to provide continuity to aircraft maintenance infrastructure being used by the U.S. Army as well as the personnel who are currently using Black Hawks allowing them to transition easily to the new generation aircraft. 

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