The U.S. Army has picked at least one industry team to move forward with development of a futuristic rotorcraft, the companies announced on Tuesday.
The service selected Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., part of United Technologies Corp., and Boeing Co. to build a helicopter for the first phase of the Joint Multi-Role technology demonstrator program, according to a statement. The firms partnered to develop the SB>1 Defiant, a medium-lift chopper based on Sikorsky’s X2 coaxial design and expected to fly for the first time in 2017.
The technology “will provide the best future vertical lift solution to the U.S. Army, and the flexibility of our design makes it suited for naval applications as well,” Mick Maurer, Sikorsky’s president, said in the press release. “This is a major leap forward.”
As long as the Army sticks to mostly looking at a medium lift helicopter (and that means as a replacement for the H-60 family) I’m not too concerned. But anytime you start tossing in terms like “Joint” and “Multi-Role” into a program, you very quickly risk bloat and overreach, both programatically and technological.