Hear The Ron and Don Show weekdays on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
 Ron & Don
SB1 Defiant
The SB1 Defiant is designed to fly better in hotter climates and higher altitudes. Boeing is hoping to win an Army contract to build 6,000 of the choppers to replace the current fleet of Apaches and Black Hawks. (photo: Boeing)

Boeing hopes proposed new bird can replace venerable Blackhawk helicopter

The Black Hawk helicopter has been the darling of the U.S. Army's fleet since 1979, fueling the imagination of the public in films like "Black Hawk Down."

But now, the Army's getting ready to retire the Black Hawk from service, along with the Boeing-made Apache helicopter. Hoping to earn the contract to make their replacements, Boeing is teaming up with the maker of the Black Hawk, Sikorsky Aircraft.

At a recent Army conference, Boeing unveiled the SB-1 Defiant. It's a helicopter they've designed to be better equipped to fly in hot climates and higher altitudes.

Boeing and Sikorsky are hoping it will be one of two helicopters the Army will fly into battle for two years starting in 2017. Then, the Army will decide which model it wants to put into production to replace a fleet of Apaches and Black Hawks.

That final contract will be for about 4,000 helicopters and worth somewhere between $20 and $60 billion.

"That's the real prize at the end of the competition here," says Damien Mills with Boeing's Vertical Lift program.

Kim Shepard, KIRO Radio Reporter
Kim Shepard is a news anchor and reporter for KIRO Radio and the office optimist. She's energetic, quick to laugh and has a positive outlook on life.
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.