Boeing Defense, Space and Security and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. were selected by the U.S. Army to build a new-generation helicopter for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator Phase 1 program (JMR TD), working toward development of a new vertical lift aircraft. The team has been working since early last year to develop the SB>1 Defiant, a medium-lift helicopter configured to the Sikorsky X2 coaxial-rotor aircraft, a high-speed helicopter now out of production.

“As the original equipment manufacturers for both the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, we bring tremendous technological breadth and depth to the customer,” stated Shelley Lavender, president of Boeing Military Aircraft.” Together, the Boeing-Sikorsky combination has designed and delivered more than 3,000 helicopters of other designs to the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Army Aviation Technology Directorate (AATD) is overseeing the development of a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL, or vertical lift) aircraft, one that can takeoff, hover, and land like a helicopter but also fly and maneuver like a conventional airplane using fixed rotors.

The Defiant aircraft design includes counter-rotating rigid main rotor blades for vertical and forward flight, a pusher propeller for high-speed acceleration and deceleration, and an advanced fly-by-wire flight control system.

The AATD selection means that the Boeing-Sikorsky program will proceed now toward flight testing, with first flight foreseen in 2017.

“Defiant will use Sikorsky’s proven X2 technology to overcome aircraft design challenges, which will be critical requirements on future vertical lift aircraft,” stated Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky, a United Technologies subsidiary.

“The Sikorsky-Boeing team’s integrated approach has created a unique blend of expertise, innovative spirit and customer commitment that are unmatched in the industry,” Maurer continued. “The complementary capabilities of each team member have delivered a design that will provide the best future vertical lift solution to the U.S. Army, and the flexibility of our design makes it suited for naval applications as well. This is a major leap forward.”