Choose V-280 Valor Helicopter To Replace Black Hawk, Sikorsky Protest Defiant X Is Ignored

Choose V-280 Valor Helicopter To Replace Black Hawk, Sikorsky Defiant X Protest Is Ignored
Choose V-280 Valor Helicopter To Replace Black Hawk,  Sikorsky Protest Defiant X Is Ignored

International Military - The choice of the Bell V-280 Valor aircraft as a replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter by the United States Army has had a long tail. Sikorsky, who participated in the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, protested that his Defiant X helicopter was being ignored.

Sikorsky, owned by Lockheed Martin, in partnership with Boeing has offered the Defiant X (SB-1 Defiant) complex coaxial helicopter in the FLRAA program for the US Army. However, the US Army got hold of Bell's advanced tiltrotor aircraft, the V-280 valor earlier this month.

That decision led Sikorsky to file a protest on December 28, 2022, thereby automatically temporarily halting work on the FLRAA program. Filing this protest will stop work on the V-280 Valor aircraft for up to 100 days, although it does not guarantee changing the decision set.

“Based on a thorough review of the information and feedback provided by the Army, Lockheed Martin Sikorsky, on behalf of Team DEFIANT, opposes the FLRAA decision,” Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo said in The War Zone, Thursday (29/12/2022).

Lemmo said in a statement that the Defiant X (SB-1 Defiant) helicopter is the transformational aircraft the Army needs to complete complex missions today and in the future. "The mission of the FLRAA is important to our Army and our nation to have the most capable, affordable and lowest risk solution," he said.

In the FLRAA program or the procurement of Future Long Range Attack Aircraft, Sikorsky, in collaboration with Boeing, is offering a compound helicopter concept with a rigid coaxial rotor. The helicopter, called the SB-1 Defiant, uses two Honeywell T55 turboshaft engines, and first flew on March 21, 2019.

A coaxial rotor is two main rotors mounted on a single pole, sharing the same axis of rotation but rotating in opposite directions, one above the other. This rotor model produces more power and a faster helicopter speed. Meanwhile, Bell presents a different concept, in the form of a tiltrotor aircraft called the V-280 Valor. Tiltrotor means an aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing, with rotors mounted at or near the wingtips that can be flexibly switched from vertical to horizontal.

Sikorsky protested because he assessed that the SB-1 Defiant helicopter had met various conditions, such as being able to turn at an angle of more than 60 degrees. Carry mission cargo by lifting a 5,300 pound external payload.

The SB-1 Deviant helicopter is capable of agile maneuvers at low speed Level 1 with fly-by-wire control. "We achieved speeds of nearly 250 knots (463 km/h) when the requirement was only 230 knots (426 km/h)," said Lemmo.

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