Home Americas S-97 Raider, SB-1 Defiant fly together for first time in public demo

S-97 Raider, SB-1 Defiant fly together for first time in public demo

Photo: Boeing

The Sikorsky-developed S-97 Raider and the SB>1 Defiant coaxial rotor helicopter developed together by Sikorsky and Boeing flew together for the first time at Sikorsky’s flight test facility in Florida.

The demo was attended by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a former US Army UH-60 Black Hawk pilot.

Another aircraft that flew during the event was the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA), a modified S-76B that supports the company’s autonomous flight testing.

The SB>1 Defiant is part of the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program and was evaluated during the Joint-Multi-Role. Technology. Demonstrator (JMR TD) together with the Bell-developed V280 tilt rotor aircraft.

The army is expected to proceed with one of the two platforms and field the successor of the UH-60 Black Hawk by fiscal year 2030.

Designed for the Army’s attack and assault missions as well as the Marine Corps long-range transportation, infiltration and resupply missions, Defiant features the X2 rigid co-axial rotor system which has already proven its airworthiness through flights of the X2 and S-97 Raider.

As explained by Boeing, with two coaxial rotors on top that rotate in opposite directions, the extra lift from each rotor’s advancing blade balances out the diminished lift from the opposite side’s retreating blade to eliminate retreating blade stall. To provide the raw forward thrust for fast flight, the back of the SB>1 mounts a pusher propulsor, allowing the aircraft to fly faster than today’s conventional helicopters while increasing the overall maneuverability and agility required for specific mission objectives.

The aircraft is expected to have a maximum speed of 250 ktas (463km/h). When folded for shipboard stowage, the Defiant will fit the footprint of a folded AH-1.