The specs of the powerplant in this application point to a 7,500 shaft HP class at 15,000 rpm, but we also know, as per the commitment made by the companies to the Army’s search for a new helicopter, it should be capable of making the Defiant twice as far and fast as the Black Hawk. That one has a never exceed speed of 222 mph (357 kph).
“Defiant X is a transformational aircraft, and Honeywell is giving us a transformational engine to power it,” said Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky. “Defiant X is optimized for operational effectiveness, sustainment and interoperability with the enduring fleet, and will transform the Army.”
Last time when we heard anything about this helicopter was back in January, when a variant of it called SB-1 Defiant was tested in hard conditions. Back then, it flew at speeds of 272 mph (438 kph) and performed dangerous maneuvers by reducing thrust to rapidly decelerate.
Previous tests have also confirmed the aircraft can navigate 60-degree banked turns, can lift a 5,300-pound (2.4 tons) external load, and hover like a pro as all worthwhile helicopters should do.
As for the quest for the new Black Hawk, the Army initiated it back in 2019 as an offshoot of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. The contract award for the entries is scheduled for later this year, and the military plans to have the new helicopters in service sometime in 2030.