Lockheed Martin Defiant X™, A Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) Contender Achieves 247 Knots

On October 12, 2021, Lockheed Martin’ announced that its Defiant X™/FLRAA Achieved 247 knots (284 mph/457 km/h).

The Defiant uses a pusher prop with a clutch, a coaxial rotor system, and retractable landing gear to achieve these impressive speeds. In comparison, the Sikorsky X2 holds the record for the fastest helicopter in the world, achieving 260 knots (299 mph/481 km/h).

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A Lockheed Martin Defiant X™ sitting next to a Blackhawk. Image: Lockheed Martin

The Defiant’s competition in the FLRAA fly-off is Bell’s V-280 Valor. The Valor has already demonstrated 300 knot (345 mph/555.6 km/h) performance.

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Image: Lockheed Martin/the author

This is really an interesting competition. Both the Bell V-280 and the Lockheed Defiant are introducing revolutionary state-of-the-art validated technologies. Obviously, the V-280 is a culmination of the V-22 technologies and the Defiant is combining proven counter-rotating main rotor technology with throw-back push rotor technology reminiscent of its AH-56 Cheyenne.

Image: Lockheed Martin

The Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) is a pre-Major Defense Acquisition Program (ACAT 1C) for the United States Army that will develop and field the next generation of affordable vertical lift tactical assault/utility aircraft for them.

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Lockheed Martin Defiant X™ and Bell V-280 Valor Image: Lockheed Martin/Bell/the author

FLRAA will provide the Joint Force with an aircraft that possesses increased speed, range, survivability, and maneuverability to allow the Army to retain overmatch against enemy forces in ever-changing environments. It will provide power projection from relative sanctuary with significantly increased range, speed, mobility, and payload capabilities over current Army and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) aircraft.

This medium-lift, tactical assault, and medical evacuation capability will augment the Army’s H-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter fleet to provide Combat Aviation Brigades with long-range, high-speed options that are survivable in contested environments. FLRAA will provide the Army and Joint Force with an advanced vertical lift aircraft that possesses advanced technologies to support MDO from 2030 and beyond.

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