The Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program was initiated by the United States Army in 2019 to develop a successor to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter as part of the Future Vertical Lift program.
On September 7, 2021, the Sikorsky-Boeing team released the following statement on the early submittal of the proposal for DEFIANT X for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), a pre-Major U.S. Defense Acquisition Program (ACAT 1C) that will develop and field the next generation of affordable vertical lift tactical assault/utility aircraft for the Army. FLRAA is the Capability Set 3 of the FVL (Future Vertical Lift) FoS (Family of Systems).
“Continuing a 75-year partnership with the U.S. Army, providing and sustaining the iconic BLACK HAWK, Chinook and Apache, the Sikorsky-Boeing team looks to the future with the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft – DEFIANT X. Today, Team DEFIANT completed and submitted the proposal for the U.S. Army’s FLRAA competition, offering low-risk, a transformational capability that delivers on an Army critical modernization priority and advances the future of Army aviation. DEFIANT X delivers speed where it matters, survivability, unsurpassed power, maneuverability, superior handling in any environment and lower lifecycle costs – while operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK. We are confident that DEFIANT X, supported by our longstanding Army industrial base suppliers, is the best choice for delivering overmatch on the Multi-Domain Operational battlefield in INDOPACOM and across the globe.”
United States Army Aviation’s vision for multi-domain operations (MDO) requires next generation vertical lift capabilities that can deter, fight, and win as part of the Joint Force in increasingly dangerous and complex environments. Future Vertical Lift (FVL) has been a DoD initiative since 2009 to develop strategic vertical lift capabilities for our warfighters. FVL is a Family of Systems (FoS) comprised of five capability sets spanning light, medium, and heavy categories.
The Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) is a pre-Major Defense Acquisition Program (ACAT 1C) that will develop and field the next generation of affordable vertical lift tactical assault/utility aircraft for the Army. FLRAA is the Capability Set 3 of the FVL FoS.
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 the 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.
Together, Sikorsky and Boeing have built 90 percent of the U.S. Army’s current military rotorcraft and have totaled more than 20 million flight hours. We’re the team that has brought forward iconic military rotorcraft including Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache. The iconic UH-60 Black Hawk has proven itself to be the premiere assault platform in the world and DEFIANT X will bring the next level of capability that the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft requires.
The DEFIANT X is an advanced utility helicopter and air assault weapon system that can fly low and fast, land quickly, deliver soldiers to the objective area (known as the “X”) and get out — all while evading the enemy in complex terrain. It’s an agile, maneuverable aircraft that flies twice as far and twice as fast as the Black Hawk helicopter it will replace — and sits in the same operational footprint.
The DEFIANT X builds on the handling qualities and transformational capabilities proven by SB>1 DEFIANT, a Sikorsky-Boeing technology demonstrator helping to inform the U.S. Army’s future vertical lift requirements. Combined with our team’s unsurpassed experience in mission systems, training and sustainment, DEFIANT X will significantly advance the Army’s air assault capability with limited changes in tactics, techniques, procedures, training and infrastructure.
DEFIANT X is purposefully designed for the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Air Assault competition, a top modernization priority, and will revolutionize the way the Army meets threats in 2035 and beyond.