Army soldiers get involved in the helicopter design process

June 25 (UPI) – Members of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade got a glimpse of the development of the SB-1 Defiant vertical lift helicopter, the military said on Friday.

Active duty and National Guard Soldiers from the brigade, headquartered in Fort Campbell, Ky., Visited the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., To learn more about design of the medium transport helicopter to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk, which first entered service in 1974.

The aircraft is a helicopter made up of two rigid, counter-rotating coaxial rotors and powered by two Honeywell T55 engines. Its first flight took place in 2019.

“It’s always good to put emerging technology in the hands of our soldiers early in the development process to get their feedback now rather than after the fact,” said Command Sgt. Major James Wilson of the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence said in a press release.

Visitors to the design center made suggestions, and a squad of rifles participated in an exercise in which, dressed in full combat gear, they demonstrated the entry and exit of the helicopter.

“They took all of our comments and were very interested in what we had to say about the plane,” said 1Lt. said Gabriel Marsan. “I think these points of contact are valuable because they provide the soldier’s contribution to the design phase.”

The experiment is an example of “soldier-centered design,” a phrase used by Army Futures Command to promote “agile acquisition” instead of designing and delivering equipment with heavy and time-consuming delays.

“Soldier-Centered Design puts those who use the system at the center of the design process, ensuring that their input and needs are the primary consideration when making design decisions and trade-offs,” said a ASC declaration Explain.

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