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Details revealed on next-gen assault helicopter DEFIANT X

written by Hannah Dowling | February 3, 2021

Sikorsky and Boeing have released details of their new advanced helicopter for the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft competition, known as FLRAA.

The aircraft, named DEFIANT X, will be the fastest, most manoeuvrable and most survivable assault helicopter in history. Combined with the team’s unsurpassed experience in mission systems, training and sustainment, it will revolutionise the way the Army meets threats in 2035 and beyond.

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.

Providing unmatched range and survivability, DEFIANT X will change the way the Army fights – enabling crews 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.

Andy Adams, Sikorsky vice president of Future Vertical Lift, explained, “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. DEFIANT X not only includes the transformational aircraft – a manoeuvrable, survivable, lethal weapon system – it 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 manoeuvrability and survivability in high-threat air defence environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defences while reducing exposure to enemy fire. Compared with SB>1 DEFIANT, the DEFIANT X airframe has enhancements to improve aerodynamics and reduce the thermal signature.

Steve Parker, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift, added, “DEFIANT X is purpose-built for a modernised Army that requires expanded reach, survivability and lethality. This weapon system will give soldiers unequalled technological advantage and connectivity over adversaries in a multi-domain battle space.”

DEFIANT X will revolutionise 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.

Together, Sikorsky and Boeing have built 90 per cent of the US Army’s current military rotorcraft and have totalled more than 15 million flight hours.

The iconic UH-60 Black Hawk has proven itself to be the premiere assault platform in the world and DEFIANT X will bring the next level of capability that the FLRAA requires.

Written by Stephen Kuper.

Details revealed on next-gen assault helicopter DEFIANT X Comment

  • Brian Beban


    It looks like a fast, giant, radar target to me.

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