SB-1 went from 236 knots to vertical drop into a confined zone

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WASHINGTON – On January 18, the American demonstrator DefiantX successfully conducted tests to determine and confirm airworthiness, developing a speed of 236 knots, and then immediately switched to vertical landing in a very limited landing area. This was announced by Lockheed Martin and Boeing through their Twitter profiles.

SB-1 Defiant is a joint development between Sikorski [Lockheed Martin’s company] and Boeing under the Future Vertical Lift [FVL] program. The FVL must offer next-generation US Air Force and US Navy helicopters. According to preliminary plans of the Pentagon under this program, five different aircraft should be developed to be integrated and share the same sensors, avionics, engine, and countermeasures.

SB-1 Defiant is a helicopter with rigid coaxial rotors, which is powered by a Honeywell T55 turbocharged engine. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that SB-1 Defiant made its first flight test nearly three years ago in March 2019.

The SB-1 Defiant is designed to be fast, agile, and flexible, as well as to provide air support to ground forces through long-range attacks. Lockheed Martin says yesterday’s test proved that the SB-1 Defiant can indeed enter pretty tight places. “The SB1DEFIANT can get into some pretty tight places! We’re applying the lessons learned to DEFIANTX, our solution for the USArmy‘s Future long-range assault program,” the Twitter message said.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The speed of 236 knots achieved during yesterday’s tests is not the highest speed this helicopter has reached, BulgarianMilitary.com reports. In early December last year, during another flight test SB-1 Defiant reached a speed of 274 knots, which is equivalent to nearly 457 km / h.

The FVL must replace the legendary Black Hawk on the battlefield in the US military. SB-1 Defiant is not the only candidate for a successor. Bell’s V-280 Valor is the other contender. One of the conditions of the US military for both participants is that their helicopters if they want to inherit the Black Hawk, must be able to reach a cruising speed of at least 520 km / h.

Some US military experts claim that Bell’s helicopter already has an advantage over the SB-1 Defiant, as it managed to reach nearly 305 knots on one of the test flights, which is equal to nearly 565 km – 42 km more than set speed limit. The Bell V-280 Valor demonstrator already has 214 hours in the air from tests alone, which, like the SB-1 Defiant, last three years.

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