Tag Archives: FLRAA

Honeywell Engine

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, and Boeing on February 10, 2022 announced Honeywell as the engine provider for DEFIANT X, the advanced helicopter for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition.

DEFIANT X
Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing selects Honeywell Engine to power DEFIANT X

With Honeywell providing the HTS7500 turboshaft engine, Team DEFIANT brings unsurpassed Army Aviation experience to revolutionize Army air assault while seamlessly integrating with legacy platforms, proven tactics and existing infrastructure. DEFIANT X will be the fastest, most maneuverable and survivable assault helicopter in history.

«Team DEFIANT’s strength is built on the experience of Sikorsky and Boeing, and a commitment to Army Aviation», said Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift. «Honeywell’s history with Boeing and the U.S. Army makes us even more confident that DEFIANT X is the best fit for the Army’s total mission».

«DEFIANT X is a transformational aircraft, and Honeywell is giving us a transformational engine to power it», said Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky. «DEFIANT X is optimized for operational effectiveness, sustainment and interoperability with the enduring fleet, and will transform the Army».

DEFIANT X is a complete weapon system that builds on the handling qualities and capabilities proven by the team’s technology demonstrator, SB>1 DEFIANT. It flies twice as far and fast as the venerable Black Hawk helicopter it is designed to replace. Currently undergoing testing in a digital combat environment, the aircraft continues to prove itself as the most survivable platform for mission requirements.

«Honeywell is excited to be a part of Team DEFIANT and proud to play a part in the future of vertical lift for the U.S. Army», said Ricky Freeman, president, Defense & Space at Honeywell Aerospace. «We’re confident our HTS7500 engine on the DEFIANT X platform will provide the Army with an agile, fast and maneuverable platform that will help ensure overmatch capability in the future battlespace».

Sikorsky-Boeing submitted the proposal for DEFIANT X for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft in September 2021. Contract award is expected this year.

FLRAA Mission Profile

The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT successfully completed FLRAA mission profile test flights, including confined area landings and low-level flight operations. These flights validate DEFIANT’s relevancy to the Army’s mission, providing agility at the objective (also known as the «X»), and increased survivability, all while reducing pilot workload. View the video of the latest flight testing.

DEFIANT
The SB>1 DEFIANT Technology Demonstrator recently executed a confined area landing among the trees in south Florida as part of the Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing team’s effort to validate aircraft design and relevance to the Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft mission profile. (Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing photo)

«We fully demonstrated DEFIANT’s ability to execute the FLRAA mission profile by flying 236 knots in level flight, then reducing thrust on the propulsor to rapidly decelerate as we approached the confined, and unimproved, landing zone», said Bill Fell, DEFIANT chief flight test pilot at Sikorsky and a retired U.S. Army Master aviator. «This type of level body deceleration allowed us to maintain situational awareness and view the landing zone throughout the approach and landing without the typical nose-up helicopter deceleration. This confined area was extremely tight, requiring us to delay descent until nearly over the landing spot, followed by a near-vertical drop. We landed DEFIANT precisely on the objective with little effort as we descended into this narrow hole while maintaining clearance on all sides».

SB>1 DEFIANT is the technology demonstrator proving out transformational capabilities for the DEFIANT X weapon system, the Sikorsky-Boeing team offering for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition as part of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. DEFIANT X will enable crews to fly low and fast through complex terrain, where Army aviators spend most of their time. It will extend capabilities of Army Aviation on the modern battlefield – and is designed to fit in the same footprint as a BLACK HAWK. With DEFIANT X, the U.S. Army will deliver troops and cargo in future combat at twice the range of the current fleet.

«It’s what we call building combat power rapidly, and aircraft like the DEFIANT X can do that», said Tony Crutchfield, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and now vice president of Army Systems at Boeing. «In the Pacific, it’s even more important because your lines of operation are going to be dispersed over a wide area; you’re going to have these small bases and supply lines that’ll 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 adversary can – so you can win».

DEFIANT X incorporates Sikorsky X2 Technology to operate at high speeds while maintaining low-speed handling qualities. This critical capability provides pilots with increased maneuverability and survivability in high-threat environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defenses while reducing exposure to enemy fire. DEFIANT X’s X2 coaxial rotor system and pusher prop allows for a high degree of maneuverability in and around the objective which is also directly linked to survivability.

DEFIANT achievements include:

  • Greater than 60-degree banked turns.
  • Demonstrating mission-relevant cargo capacity by lifting a 5,300-pound/2,404-kg Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System external load.
  • Exceeding 245 knots/282 mph/454 km/h in level flight.
  • Demonstrated Level 1 low-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls.
  • Integration of U.S. Army test pilots into the Defiant program.
  • Based on the Collier Award-winning X2 Technology.

DEFIANT X Tech Demonstrator Shows Low-Level Flight and Confined Area Landing Capabilities

Assault Aircraft

On September 7, 2021 the Sikorsky-Boeing team released the following statement on the early submittal of the proposal for DEFIANT X for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

DEFIANT X
DEFIANT X is a helicopter that offers high-speed performance while retaining traditional helicopter agility and maneuverability, delivering more combat power on the objective than other proposals for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. While operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK, DEFIANT X delivers transformational capability and affordability – including efficient sustainment, advanced manufacturing techniques and minimized training time and costs (Image courtesy Sikorsky and Boeing)

This statement can be attributed to Paul Lemmo, president, Sikorsky, and to Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager, Vertical Lift, Boeing Defense, Space & Security:

«Continuing a 75-year partnership with the U.S. Army, providing and sustaining the iconic BLACK HAWK, Chinook and Apache, the Sikorsky-Boeing team looks to the future with the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft – DEFIANT X. Today, Team DEFIANT completed and submitted the proposal for the U.S. Army’s FLRAA competition, offering low-risk, transformational capability that delivers on an Army critical modernization priority and advances the future of Army aviation. DEFIANT X delivers speed where it matters, survivability, unsurpassed power, maneuverability, superior handling in any environment and lower lifecycle costs – while operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK. We are confident that DEFIANT X, supported by our longstanding Army industrial base suppliers, is the best choice for delivering overmatch on the Multi-Domain Operational battlefield in United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and across the globe».

DEFIANT X

We are excited about our continued partnership with the U.S. Army on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) program to develop this vital modernization capability. DEFIANT X builds on the handling qualities and transformational capabilities proven in flight tests by our SB>1 DEFIANT technology demonstrator and is already undergoing testing and evaluation in a digital combat environment. The result is an adaptable design that delivers transformational speed, range and unprecedented maneuverability at the X. DEFIANT X will be a critical enabler for full-spectrum convergence of Army and joint operations assets on the multi-domain operational battlefield.

DEFIANT X
Sikorsky And Boeing Statement on Continuing to Advance DEFIANT X in U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft Program

As we ramp up CD&RR we will refine the final set of weapon system requirements and complete our preliminary design review for our DEFIANT X weapon system. Supporting this review will be subsystem preliminary design reviews conducted with our exceptional suppliers. The overarching objective of this phase of the program is to enable the successful execution of detailed design following contract down-select. The team of hundreds of hand-picked experts from Sikorsky and Boeing will continue their work to develop an optimized assault aircraft for the Army. Additional activities will include:

  • Refining our virtual prototype, utilizing a digital twin and digital design techniques that are embedded in our processes today. State-of-the-art digital design and manufacturing is already in use on other production programs, and will enable the Army to not only lower the acquisition cost, but enable rapid, affordable upgrades to stay ahead of the evolving threat. We will continue to sharpen our tools with data from flight test, our powered system test bed, end to end SIL, Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER flight test, and other risk reduction activities.
  • Sharpening and demonstrating our Modular Open Systems Approach which will enable the Army to readily modify and upgrade DEFIANT X as new needs and opportunities appear.
  • Closing on the details around an exceptional warfighter experience, including the pilots in the cockpit, crew chiefs and troops in the cabin. Maintainers will continue to perform procedures at scale in virtual reality labs, sharing their perspective with designers on everything from ease of access, to ergonomics, to how straightforward it is to remove parts for servicing.
  • Quantifying the exceptional reliability, maintainability and availability that is better than the proven UH-60 BLACK HAWK despite the leap in capability.

Background on CD&RR:

  • Although the development and design completed under CD&RR Phase II will continue to inform the USG for their FLRAA down select in mid-2022, the effort in Phase II is also part of a series of developmental steps and design reviews. Phase II is focused on functionality, integration and developing all the data and artifacts to accomplish a preliminary design review.

The second phase

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company and the U.S. Army have agreed to terms on the execution of the second phase of the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) contract that was awarded in March 2020 for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. This new contract is an important milestone and testament to the continued momentum for Army modernization. Bell’s flight-proven V-280 Valor design advances from an aircraft with transformational speed and survivability towards a low-risk weapons system ready to support joint combined arms and maneuver operations around the world.

Bell V-280 Valor
Bell is executing the second phase of a Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction contract to inform the imminent program of record competition for U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA)

«This is the next step to a program of record and Bell is proud to closely collaborate with the Army to transition our flight-proven V-280 Valor into a highly-capable and sustainable FLRAA weapons system», said Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «Bell and our Team Valor teammates continue to optimize our platform based on research, design, and thorough flight-testing of the aircraft to deliver an outstanding capability for the Army».

During phase one of the CD&RR, Bell provided detailed iterations on the V-280 design, data to highlight the feasibility of executing the program of record requirements, and executed trade studies using model-based systems engineering. This work will continue under phase two as the Army finalizes requirements for the program of record planned for 2022.

Bell has already safely delivered groundbreaking performance and successfully completed a rapid design, build, and test program with the V-280. Since its first flight in 2017, the V-280 team has executed a rigorous flight test program flying more than 200 hours through over 160 individual test flights that delivered critical data to validate Bell’s digital models and performance.

As the FLRAA competition moves to a program of record, Bell continues to take a holistic approach to transition the V-280 to a weapons system that ensures exceptional performance and is affordable throughout the lifecycle. From the outset, the Bell V-280 Valor was designed for efficiency – using simplified and inherently reliable designs, adhering to Army Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) requirements, reducing maintenance costs, and increasing reliability. Bell applied digital design and manufacturing technologies, included maintenance as part of the design process, and used emerging commercial processes to bring a comprehensive view of digital models, processing, and analysis. This methodology has reduced programmatic risk, improved lifecycle maintenance and servicing outcomes, increasing program affordability.

«This aircraft is not an engineering science project. The V-280 tiltrotor provides a critical and combat-proven capability needed to maintain our U.S. military’s ability to deter adversaries by radically improving over the current fleet’s speed, range, versatility, and sustainability. Our program has provided evidence that the V-280 is a transformational long-range assault aircraft solution for the Army and we are proud to move forward as a team to continue to mature the weapons system», said Ryan Ehinger, vice president and program director, FLRAA at Bell.

Over an 8-day period recently the Bell V-280 Valor team completed 5 hours of flight over 4 sorties; nearing 180 total flight hours and over 330 total operating hours

Assault Helicopter

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, and Boeing on January 25, 2021 released details of its advanced helicopter for the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft competition, known as FLRAA. The aircraft, named Defiant X, will be the fastest, most maneuverable and most survivable assault helicopter in history. Combined with the team’s unsurpassed experience in mission systems, training and sustainment, it will revolutionize the way the Army meets threats in 2035 and beyond.

Defiant X
Defiant X to compete for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft contract, a top modernization priority for the Army

Defiant X is a complete weapon system that builds on the handling qualities and transformational capabilities proven by the team’s technology demonstrator, SB>1 Defiant. With unmatched range and survivability, Defiant X will to fly low and fast through complex terrain, land quickly, deliver soldiers and equipment to the objective area (referred to as «the X») and get out.

Defiant X flies twice as far and fast as the venerable Black Hawk helicopter it is designed to replace. Currently undergoing testing in a digital combat environment, the aircraft continues to prove itself the most survivable platform for mission requirements.

«We are ready to deliver unparalleled capabilities backed by proven technologies that will truly transform the Army’s mission today – with room to grow and adapt to the missions of tomorrow», said Andy Adams, Sikorsky vice president of Future Vertical Lift. «Defiant X not only includes the transformational aircraft, mission systems and revolutionary sustainment solution, but also leverages Sikorsky’s and Boeing’s advanced manufacturing capabilities».

With its rigid coaxial rotor system and pusher propeller, Defiant X incorporates Sikorsky X2 Technology to operate at high speeds while maintaining low-speed handling qualities. This critical capability provides soldiers with increased maneuverability and survivability in high-threat air defense environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defenses while reducing exposure to enemy fire.

«Defiant X is purpose-built for a modernized Army that requires expanded reach, survivability and lethality», said Steve Parker, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift. «This weapon system will give soldiers unequaled technological advantage and connectivity over adversaries in a multi-domain battle space».

Defiant X will revolutionize the Army’s air assault capability with limited changes in tactics, techniques, procedures, training and infrastructure while maintaining the Black Hawk helicopter footprint and tight formation capability flown today.

The Army is expected to release a request for proposal on FLRAA later this year, with a contract award expected in 2022.

Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant X Revealed

Assault Aircraft

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has been selected as a project agreement holder for the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) effort as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. Under the agreement Bell will deliver a refined V-280 Valor design, with supporting technical documentation, that builds on the data captured during the more than two years and 170 hours of flight testing under the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) program to inform the FLRAA program of record.

U.S. Army awards Bell a contract for competitive demonstration and risk reduction work on a program engineered to deliver exceptional operational capabilities to warfighters at a sustainable cost

«Bell and Team Valor are excited to continue working on a system that has proven its ability to bring exceptional capabilities to warfighters», said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO at Bell. «The JMR TD and V-280 show that rapid maturation of new technology is possible with a solid government-industry partnership fueled by our talented and innovative workforce. We look forward to the FLRAA competition».

This contract follows the successful U.S. Army led JMR TD program. As part of that program, Bell managed collaboration with the twelve leading companies that make up Team Valor to enable rapid production, systems integration, and deliberate program schedule to validate the V-280’s flight capabilities and operational relevance. The V-280 achieved all program goals, demonstrating its speed by flying above 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h and demonstrating low speed agility attitude quickness per ADS-33F-PRF. These characteristics are important to inform FLRAA program requirements to ensure the program will help warfighters meet the challenges of future multi-domain fights.

«This is an important milestone in the history of Bell and Army aviation. We are honored to be part of it», said Keith Flail, vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «The next phase is an opportunity for this team to build on the success of the last six years and continue to bring the proof that we can provide transformative capabilities to our Army in line with their stated goal of 2030».

The V-280 Valor was developed in support of the government Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program, the Army’s number three modernization priority area. The FLRAA program is meant to produce a medium-lift utility rotorcraft replacement with transformational speed, power, and maneuverability, at a sustainable cost, to active duty and reserve aviation units.