March 25 (UPI) -- Boeing Co. announced the first flight of its SB-1 "Defiant" battlefield helicopter at its West Palm Beach, Fla., facilities.
The aircraft, developed by Boeing and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, features two coaxial main rotors and a rear-mounter pusher rotor, which Boeing said in a statement is "unlike production rotorcraft available today."
"The design and development of DEFIANT has revealed the capability advancement that is truly possible for Future Vertical Lift," David Koopersmith, vice president and general manager, Boeing Vertical Lift, said in a press release. "Clearly, the performance, speed, and agility of DEFIANT will be a game changer on the battlefield and we look forward to demonstrating for the U.S. Army the tremendous capabilities of this aircraft."
The rotorcraft was designed to achieve cost-effective increases in speed and range, while improving maneuverability. The helicopter is nearly twice as fast as conventional helicopters, while retaining low-speed and hovering capabilities.
The helicopter employs what the manufacturer calls "X2 Technology," which has a heavy emphasis on vibration reduction. The design is the foundation for Lockheed Martin's support to all Future Vertical Lift program aircraft.
The program is intended to shape the U.S. military's helicopter fleet of the future and will replace helicopters across the military by 2030, a separate company statement said.
The initial prototype was unveiled in December 2018, with its first flight on Tuesday.
"This design provides for exceptional performance in the objective area, where potential enemy activity places a premium on maneuverability, survivability and flexibility," Dan Spoor, vice president of Sikorsky Future Vertical Life, said following the flight. "We are thrilled with the results of today's flight and look forward to an exciting flight test program."