Super successor to the Black Hawk reached 457 km/h in a flight

BERLIN, ($1=0.88 Euros) – With Defiant X, Sikorsky and Boeing want to inherit the UH-60 Black Hawk from the US Army. The demonstrator of the super helicopter recently reached 457 km/h in a straight flight for the first time, learned, citing That sounds impressive – but the competition flew faster.

See the newest high-speed SB-1 Defiant helicopter developed by Sikorski (video)
Photo credit: Wikipedia

It all depends on the speed: The US Army demands a cruising speed of no less than 520 km / h from the aircraft that is to become the legacy of the Black Hawk on the battlefield of the future. That is far beyond what comparable helicopters can do today. In the competition for the successor to the legendary helicopter, the US Army has the tilt-rotor aircraft V-280 Valor from Bell compete against the futuristic Defiant X aircraft.

This comes from the pen of Sikorsky and Boeing, who combine two coaxial main rotors with a pusher propeller at the stern in their design. With the test carrier SB> 1, the two manufacturers have been testing this approach in practice since 2019 – and are feeling their way step by step into new flight areas. At the end of October, the team reported a new speed record for the Defiant: 247 knots in level flight – that’s more than 457 km / h.

Flying competition

This value is quite impressive for a helicopter – it is a good 150 km / h above that recorded for the UH-60 Black Hawk. Visually – and also acoustically – the Defiant is also impressive: In a test flight video, Sikorsky and Boeing let their prototype fly low next to a Cessna Citation. That looks very good, of course, but there is still a long way to go before the set target of 520 km / h. Nevertheless, the Defiant test pilots say that they want to devote themselves to other areas of flight testing. For example, the prototype should show how it performs in simulated operational missions. The focus is now also on increasing the payload.

Bell is [still] ahead of the game

At least in terms of top speed, the competition is already further: 305 knots, i.e. 565 km / h, the program engineers noted the Bell V-280 Valor as the maximum speed achieved in the record book. For three and a half years they tested the concept of the V-280 in flight. The tiltrotor was in the air for 214 hours. The test vehicle is now retired, all parameters have been flown – and Bell is working behind closed doors on a new Valor prototype.

Fastest helicopter in history

Sikorsky and Boeing are not that far yet. However, the fact that they are lagging behind their competitors hardly affects the two partners. at least publicly. Instead, the team does not save with advance praise for its candidate: The Defiant X “will be the fastest, most maneuverable and most survivable helicopter in history,” said Sikorsky in a press release in early 2021. Boeing emphasizes: “It is an agile, maneuverable aircraft that flies twice as far and twice as fast as the Black Hawk helicopter it will replace (…).” In addition, it fits into the hangars that have been used up to now and can be handled in a similar way to current helicopters. Building on the characteristics of the SB> 1, the Defiant X will permanently change “the way the army fights”. However, the project team still has a long way to go before this becomes a reality.


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