Courtesy of Sikorsky

The Army is currently considering two advanced rotary-wing aircraft to replace the Black Hawk as part of the branch's Future Vertical Lift program, and after a year of firsts for Bell's tiltrotor V-280 Valor, Boeing and Sikorsky are raring to catch up in 2019 with the much-anticipated SB-1 Defiant.

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Just months after conducting its maiden flight with a 20-minute low hover and then demonstrating a speed of 80 knots, the advanced V-280 Valor tilt-rotor prototype has achieved an effective transition to cruise mode, hitting speeds up to 190 knots with its rotors smoothly transitioning between its hover and cruise configurations, according to announcement by Bell Helicopter on Tuesday — a major step forward for the experimental airframe that may end up replacing the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters in the U.S. Army's fleet.

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Photo via Lockheed Martin

Editor’s Note: This article by Brendan McGarry originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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