Military Review

Potential FLRAA Winner. Sikorsky and Boeing presented a new project of the Defiant X helicopter

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Virtual Defiant X in flight


Sikorsky (part of Lockheed Martin) and Boeing continue to work on a promising helicopter that can replace the existing UH-60 aircraft. The other day they first published information about their new project called Defiant X. It builds on previous developments and will qualify for the Pentagon contracts.

Aircraft of the future


For several years, work has continued on the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, the goal of which is to create a new multipurpose helicopter to replace obsolete machines. The program is already approaching its final, and the participating companies are preparing to present their developments in the final configuration.

Late last year, the Pentagon released a draft final RFP for the FLRAA. The final version of the request is expected to be completed during FY2021. In December, it was announced that only the Sikorsky-Boeing merger and Bell are considered as participants in the new phase of the program. However, the participation of other organizations was not ruled out - but they had only two weeks to receive applications. As expected, no such applications were received.


On January 25, Boeing and Sikorsky disclosed information about their new project. To participate in the new stage of FLRAA, they developed a multipurpose helicopter called the Defiant X. It is based on the experience of designing and testing previous experimental vehicles, but more fully meets the customer's requirements for technical, combat and operational characteristics.

In their official press release, the two companies claim that the Defiant X will be the fastest, most maneuverable and durable "attack helicopter" in stories... In 2035 and later, when such a technique becomes widespread in the army, they predict a real revolution in the field of combat capabilities. Defiant X will be able to quickly overcome the most difficult routes, deliver people and goods to the specified point and leave the danger zone with minimal risks.

Also, the development companies have published several images of the helicopter and an animated video showing the main features and capabilities of such a machine. At the same time, the tactical and technical characteristics are not disclosed.

Similarities and differences


The presented Defiant X helicopter is the result of many years of work, during which several prototypes were created and tested. As a result, the current car retains a lot of the features of its predecessors, although it has noticeable external and internal differences. In addition, one can assume the presence of the most serious innovations directly related to customer requirements.


Like previous prototypes, the Defiant X is an unusual helicopter design with a twin-rotor coaxial carrier system and a pusher rotor in the tail. The combination of rotors and pusher is based on Sikorsky X2 Technology, which is considered the main result of previous projects.

The general architecture of the airframe has been preserved with streamlined outer contours and a large tail unit. At the same time, the glider has changed significantly. The shape of the nose cone has been improved, engine casings have been changed, etc. Developers point to improved aerodynamics and reduced infrared visibility

The Defiant X helicopter, unlike its predecessors, is intended not only for testing, which affects the composition of onboard equipment. He must receive a full sighting and navigation system necessary for piloting and performing combat missions. However, the exact list of the proposed equipment has not been disclosed.

As part of further development, the Defiant X helicopter can receive an improved fly-by-wire control system with new functions. In particular, the maximum automation of piloting processes is expected, as well as the appearance of a full-fledged unmanned mode. This will lead, at a minimum, to a reduction in pilot workload without sacrificing basic performance and capabilities.


Like the previous experimental SB> 1 Defiant helicopter, the new Defiant X is designed to carry people and goods. A large cabin is provided for them in the forward and central part of the fuselage. The dimensions of this compartment and the carrying capacity have not yet been specified. It also provides transportation of goods on an external sling. The promotional material depicts the transport of containers and towed weapons.

The performance characteristics of the Defiant X have not yet been announced. Most likely, this machine will repeat or improve the successes of the previous SB> 1. Thus, an experienced helicopter in October last year in horizontal flight developed a speed of 211 knots (390 km / h). Additional speed gains may be needed to gain a competitive edge in the FLRAA competition.

Competitive prospects


The companies "Sikorsky" and "Boeing" have already presented the general appearance of their helicopter, which will have to compete for contracts in the near future. At the same time, the final version of the terms of reference for the FLRAA program has not yet been developed, it is expected only by the end of the current financial year. Perhaps the clarification of certain requirements will lead to the need to finalize the Defiant X project, but a radical rework is no longer required.


Experienced SB> 1 Defiant after rollout

It is reported that the new Defiant X helicopter is now being tested in a virtual environment. The computer model of the product is tested in different modes and in different situations. This stage will be followed by fine-tuning, after which the construction of a prototype is expected. Such a car could be rolled out as early as the next FY2022.

Also in the near future, the Pentagon will have to compare the Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant X helicopter with a competing development from Bell and choose the most successful model. By the end of the decade, it is planned to complete the development of the winning project, set up production and begin the rearmament of army units.

It should be noted that the competitor of the Defiant X project is not yet known. In the previous stages of the FLRAA program, the development of Boeing and Sikorsky was opposed by the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor. Perhaps it will be finalized and re-nominated for the competition, or a new car with a number of serious differences will be created on its basis. Bell has not disclosed its plans yet, but it will happen soon.

The fight is escalating


Until recently, the Pentagon's FLRAA program was at the stage of research and development, finding the necessary solutions and demonstrating technologies. The expected release of the final version of the terms of reference will move it to a new stage. Participating companies will have to complete the design, build experimental equipment and show its superiority over competing developments.


This will be followed by lucrative orders from the US military. In addition, it reported interest in FLRAA from third countries. Some NATO states, now operating UH-60 helicopters, may replace them with promising high-speed machines in the future. Thus, winning the current program will quickly recoup all costs and bring new profits.

The first participant in the last stage of the program is already known - this is the Defiant X helicopter from Sikorsky and Boeing. In the very near future, Bell will also reveal its plans for FLRAA. The winner of the competition will be chosen a little later. In the meantime, we should expect the continuation of design work, construction and roll-out of experimental equipment, as well as increased competition in all its manifestations.
Author:
Photos used:
Sikorsky / Boeing
39 comments
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  1. Vladimir_2U
    Vladimir_2U 27 January 2021 04: 15
    +1
    Here's how the potential winner becomes kinetic, we'll see.
  2. Sergey_G_M
    Sergey_G_M 27 January 2021 04: 21
    -1
    Beautiful machine.
    But for sure it is very expensive both in production and in operation.
    I don’t think there will be many of them, but rather the same as tiltrotors. They will be made as a demonstrator of technologies and solving special problems, and the main work will be carried out by cheaper and simpler workhorses.
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 27 January 2021 08: 06
      +1
      Osprey built over 400 pieces. This is a lot. The scheme is extremely successful, childhood diseases have been cured.
      If the X2 line wins all 3 programs on multipurpose, attack, reconnaissance and attack helicopters, then one unit will cost very cheap and there will be thousands, if not tens of thousands.
      1. Viktor Sergeev
        Viktor Sergeev 27 January 2021 12: 12
        0
        Why not tens of millions? It cannot be cheap, because it is made in the USA. The United States is full of hijackers, but I don't want to, they don't need to buy something new, unless of course they steal money.
        1. Vadim237
          Vadim237 27 January 2021 17: 49
          0
          Additive ways to create parts for this high-speed helicopter will greatly simplify its construction and significantly reduce the cost.
    2. Reviews
      Reviews 28 January 2021 07: 40
      0
      Quote: Sergey_G_M

      But for sure it is very expensive both in production and in operation.
      I don’t think there will be many of them, but rather the same as convertiplanes.

      Already only due to the absence of the rotary VMG SB-1 is much easier and cheaper. So, they are likely to be many times more than "Ospriev". The absence of a wing with mechanization, a synchronizing mechanism, a ramp and, I think, much more, less obvious, also work to reduce the cost and simplification.
      1. Viktor Sergeev
        Viktor Sergeev 28 January 2021 11: 09
        0
        Any newer US armament is always at least 2 times more expensive than the previous one, this is the law and the Americans will refuse this miracle precisely because of the price, as was the case with Kamanch.
        1. Reviews
          Reviews 28 January 2021 12: 01
          0
          Quote: Victor Sergeev
          Any newer US weapons are always at least 2 times more expensive than the previous one

          This is normal for a new generation of technology. But I wrote about something else.
          1. Viktor Sergeev
            Viktor Sergeev 28 January 2021 17: 35
            0
            I meant that it is American weapons that are 2 times more expensive than, for example, Russian weapons of the same generation. Any weapon in the United States is embezzlement of the budget and a new one should always be more expensive.
            1. Reviews
              Reviews 28 January 2021 17: 38
              0
              Quote: Victor Sergeev
              I meant that it is American weapons that are 2 times more expensive than, for example, Russian weapons of the same generation. Any weapon in the United States is embezzlement of the budget and a new one should always be more expensive.

              I do not agree, but I want to off-heat.
  3. Graz
    Graz 27 January 2021 04: 23
    +1
    it is time for us to think and start acting. old people will not be able to fly forever, an adequate replacement for the mi-8 and its modifications is needed
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 27 January 2021 17: 49
      -1
      There is the Mi 38 - is it not a replacement for the Mi 8?
      1. Reviews
        Reviews 28 January 2021 12: 07
        0
        Quote: Vadim237
        There is the Mi 38 - is it not a replacement for the Mi 8?

        The main thing is why change the Mi-8? In its niche, it has a bunch of analogues and it meets the requirements of its segment by 101%. The Mi-8 / -17 is a modern machine, which differs from the original V-8 / Mi-8 in about the same way as the UH-1Y from the Vietnamese Huey.
  4. Thrifty
    Thrifty 27 January 2021 04: 53
    +4
    The thousandth concept, brought to the prototype. .. How many of them have already been, such projects that never went into series, and how many more will be. ...
    1. Reviews
      Reviews 28 January 2021 07: 51
      0
      Quote: Thrifty
      The thousandth concept, brought to the prototype. .. How many of them have already been, such projects that never went into series, and how many more will be. ...

      In the end, "one out of a thousand attempts" turns out to be "a pearl in a pile of dung." It is possible that the discussed device will become it. Americans experimented with this scheme as early as the 1950s.



      And, if they returned to it again, despite the closure of the then programs, then the scheme is working and necessary. And not only the Americans - Airbus has also built two or three concepts.
  5. Monar
    Monar 27 January 2021 06: 21
    +4
    One thing is confusing. You will look at the Kamov co-axes - such an openwork rack of the main rotor.
    Here is some kind of monstrosity, compared to the rest of the structure.
    1. Lycan
      Lycan 27 January 2021 11: 02
      +1
      Sharp maneuvers, protection against small and medium caliber bullets and shrapnel. And maybe the duplication of some sub-nodes, in favor of survivability ... Confusion away.
      1. Monar
        Monar 27 January 2021 11: 11
        +3
        What is wrong with the rest of the combat helicopters? Look at the same AN-64. And there the requirements for maneuverability and protection are higher than those of the transport.
        1. Lycan
          Lycan 27 January 2021 13: 32
          +1
          Who knows, maybe they have some fresh stats. data on the nodes of rotary-wing vehicles in the combat zone and dry fine-stony soils.
      2. nemez
        nemez 27 January 2021 15: 48
        -1
        That's exactly what the projectile will get stuck and the mechanism will break itself.
    2. Intruder
      Intruder 27 January 2021 14: 42
      -2
      One thing is confusing. You will look at the Kamov co-axes - such an openwork rack of the main rotor.
      Here is some kind of monstrosity, compared to the rest of the structure.
      Duc, thoroughly done without saving on designers and engineers wink , plus inspires respect for the solidity of the design, military customers should appreciate ...
  6. Calm
    Calm 27 January 2021 08: 18
    +1
    Well done, you can see that people are moving, trying, experimenting, building ...
  7. Mark kalendarov
    Mark kalendarov 27 January 2021 10: 12
    +2
    No matter how they criticized the propeller in the tail circuit because of the complex kinematics, they returned to it ... The battle will show!
    1. Reviews
      Reviews 28 January 2021 07: 53
      0
      Quote: Mark Kalendarov
      How the propeller in the tail was not criticized due to complex kinematics

      What's "complicated" about it? No more complicated than the tail rotor of a classic helicopter. But, in general, it is even easier due to the absence of a bevel gear.
    2. Magog_
      Magog_ 29 January 2021 13: 12
      0
      In my opinion, with this approach (the presence of a pusher propeller), the option of an autogyro would be more obvious.
  8. Viktor Sergeev
    Viktor Sergeev 27 January 2021 12: 10
    -3
    Another fucking expensive wunderwolf not needed by the US Army. Nothing new, so cut the budget.
    1. Magog_
      Magog_ 29 January 2021 12: 55
      0
      I agree with Victor. Note the relative position of the coaxial screws, for example. On our Kamov experimental machines, such a phenomenon as an overlap of the rotors in an energetic maneuver appeared. For which they were further spread along the height. If you make the screws stiffer so as not to spread them similarly in height, then there is extra weight. The presence of a pusher screw also does not contribute to the achievement of acceptable weight parameters of the structure ... Etc. can be observed. Therefore, "LTH Defiant X has not yet been announced." There is nothing to boast about and show advantages! Even in comparison with the UH-60, the replacement of which is contested in the competition. "At the same time, the final version of the terms of reference for the FLRAA program has not yet been developed, it is expected only by the end of the current financial year"! T, h, there is not much to discuss!
  9. Outsider
    Outsider 27 January 2021 12: 36
    0
    Quote: Mark Kalendarov
    No matter how they criticized the propeller in the tail circuit because of the complex kinematics, they returned to it ... The battle will show!

    - Otherwise you won't get high speed ...
  10. Vadim Ananyin
    Vadim Ananyin 27 January 2021 12: 44
    +1
    The car will be very expensive, like the Comanche. It was also considered promising, but then everything died because of the price. In conditions of an economic crisis, it is unlikely.
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 27 January 2021 17: 50
      0
      Don't worry, it won't.
      1. Vadim Ananyin
        Vadim Ananyin 27 January 2021 20: 23
        0
        Where is Comanche?
        The price tag will strangle the truncated that we have that they have 1
        1. Vadim237
          Vadim237 27 January 2021 23: 44
          +1
          And here Comanche is generally a project of an attack stealth helicopter, the same stuffed as an F 22 from the late 80s of the 90s - here, just a high-speed helicopter, its parts will be manufactured using additive technologies and new materials.
          Speaking of materials "Scientists of the Research Institute of Space and Aviation Materials in Pereslavl-Zalessky have created a polymer material for use in the aerospace industry. The new polymer material was named Aristide, in honor of the ancient Greek scientist and politician Aristide.

          The new composite material is 10 times lighter than aircraft-grade aluminum and can withstand temperatures up to 1300 degrees while remaining flammable. The new material can withstand a pistol shot and is able to gradually regenerate. In addition, the same alloy can be used as an antenna.

          The invention is based on a cyanate-ester binder, created in the laboratories of the Pereslavl enterprise. It has already been used on scientific space satellites. In terms of its ability to retain heat, 3 mm of this material can be equal to 1 m of brickwork, so its scope is wide enough. "

          According to the scientists who developed Aristide, the new material will serve as a worthy replacement for aviation aluminum and epoxy polymers, which do not have such resistance when exposed to temperature. Thanks to its qualities, Aristide can be used in various fields. "If this is really the case, then this is a sensation and a breakthrough in materials science.
          1. Vadim Ananyin
            Vadim Ananyin 28 January 2021 19: 41
            0
            Everything that you wrote correctly, but this is only if at the initial stage there is an investment of kopecks and the continuation of work after the fact. Well, if someone wants to push into the development of the process in the long term, what if there is a pandemic again? Or will the UAE bend your fingers? What then?
  11. Intruder
    Intruder 27 January 2021 14: 39
    0
    In particular, the maximum automation of piloting processes is expected, as well as the appearance of a full-fledged unmanned mode.
    Fence in size, a copter will be released .. if implemented in mass production, of course winked
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 27 January 2021 14: 47
      0
      The requirement for unmanned flight will be mandatory for all air programs that are planned for production after the 30s.
      Death is not a valid excuse for not completing a combat mission.
      1. Intruder
        Intruder 27 January 2021 14: 58
        +1
        Death is not a valid excuse for not completing a combat mission.
        exactly, by the way, a sad movie in its essence, maybe better like this:
        1. OgnennyiKotik
          OgnennyiKotik 27 January 2021 15: 24
          0
          This video is even sadder. The best table tennis player somehow defeated the robot. How many such players are there? A couple dozen. How many of these robots can you build? Tens of thousands. How long does it take to build a robot and raise a human? What is the average level of people? And they will be opposed by the same robots that were against the best.
          Ps The robot had no self-learning unit, just algorithms.
          1. Intruder
            Intruder 27 January 2021 15: 29
            +1
            What is the average level of people? And they will be opposed by the same robots that were against the best.
            exactly - 100% and +1 from me ...
            The best table tennis player somehow defeated the robot. How many such players are there? A couple dozen.
            hmm, humans have a big problem with general and constant degradation winked , even Skynet is no longer needed, but only table tennis .. and Oops !!! belay
          2. Intruder
            Intruder 27 January 2021 16: 20
            0
            Ps The robot had no self-learning unit, just algorithms.
            it's good that while these same algorithms are still being done by a group of smart people, but when the groups of smart people end or self-study becomes easier, then ... a complete disaster will come (for people ...) !!! request