Update: AUSA 2021: US Army test pilots fly Defiant tech demonstrator during FLRAA source selection

by Pat Host

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant technology demonstrator as seen on 20 February 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. US Army test pilots have flown the platform during FLRAA source selection to help the team better refine its end product for the service if Sikorsky-Boeing wins the FLRAA procurement. (Janes/Pat Host)

US Army test pilots recently flew the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant technology demonstrator during source selection for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition to help the team have a better end product for the service if it wins the procurement.

Chris Downey, Boeing Defense, Space, and Security Future Vertical Lift (FVL) global sales and marketing, told Janes on 14 October that Sikorsky-Boeing is concerned with continuing to gather as much information and data as possible to better validate its Defiant X design and improve its models, tools, and processes. Having the US Army test pilots fly the SB>1 Defiant during source selection also helps the team optimise its software.

Downey said two US Army test pilots flew the SB>1 Defiant in its last two flights, which took place after proposal submission. Sikorsky-Boeing submitted its bid in September.


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Infantry takes big hit in British Army reorganisation

by Tim Ripley

Nearly 20% of the British Army's infantry soldiers are to be lost as a result of the Future Soldier reorganisation, UK defence secretary Ben Wallace announced on 25 November.

Wallace confirmed the strength of the British Army would be reduced by a total of 9,000 posts overall, with its infantry branch taking the biggest cut.

Under the plans, the British Army's infantry branch will be reduced by 3,000 posts from its current total of about 5,000 soldiers, according to senior UK defence sources. The remainder are being spread across the other branches of the army.

The bulk of the infantry personnel cuts will come from infantry units previously assigned to conventional armoured warfighting roles. Two battalions of the Mercian Regiment are also to be combined into a single battalion, saving about 650 posts, Wallace announced on 25 November.


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Berlin Security Conference 2021: Lockheed Martin confident STH timeline for Germany can still be met

by Gareth Jennings

The CH-53K was displayed at the last ILA Berlin Airshow in 2018. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Lockheed Martin is confident that the Bundeswehr's latest schedule for its Schwere Transporthubschrauber (STH) heavy-lift helicopter programme can still be met, should the protest being heard in the German courts progress in a timely manner.

Speaking to Janes at the Berlin Security Conference (BSC) 2021, company officials said that the timeline of a contract signature in 2023 and deliveries beginning in about 2026 is still tenable should the High Court in Dusseldorf issue its written judgement in the coming weeks on Lockheed Martin's protest at the programme being cancelled in September 2020.

“The timeline depends on how the Bundeswehr moves forward, but a 2023 contract date is still realistic,” Director International CH-53K Programs, Elizabeth Parcella, said on 25 November. Sikorsky's International Business Development official, Christian Albrecht, added, “We would be able to support a transition [to the CH-53K King Stallion] from 2026 onwards, as we will have the production capacity at out Stratford site in Connecticut”.


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UK aims to downsize British Army to 73,000 soldiers

by Tim Ripley

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace told parliament on 25 November that the British Army would be reduced by 500 soldiers to a target strength of 73,000 by the middle of the decade. Pictured: soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment training in Oman in October. (Crown copyright)

Proposals to reduce the size of the British Army have been scaled back by 500 troops, UK defence secretary Ben Wallace announced on 25 November.

Wallace told the UK parliament that the British Army would now be reduced to 73,000 by the middle of the decade. When the Defence Command Paper (DCP) was published in March, the target strength of the army was set at 72,500 trained soldiers, down from the 82,000 hitherto planned.

Wallace revealed a series of changes to the organisation and deployment of the British Army's major units, confirming the new brigade combat team structure set out in the DCP in March.


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US Army test pilots recently flew the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant technology demonstrator during so...

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