Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky is advancing with the development of the Raider X competitive prototype (CP) for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) programme.

The prototype is now more than 85% complete and is currently weight on wheels at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center, in Florida.

The company has also started powering on the helicopter.

Unlike a single-main rotor configuration, the Raider X design is based on Sikorsky X2 technology.

According to Lockheed Martin, the compound coaxial technology of the X2 will improve the aircraft’s performance, supporting an increase in speed, combat radius, and payload to meet different mission requirements.

Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo said: “Our transformational Raider X will deliver broad benefits to the Army, including the lowest schedule risk and greatest technical maturity of the FARA competitors.

“With X2 Technology, Raider X has the ability to grow, unlike a single-main rotor configuration. We’re looking to the future, and we are committed to helping the Army deter threats and defend freedoms well into the 21st century.”

The company has also completed building the second FARA fuselage. The body will now be integrated into Sikorsky’s structural test programme to validate the flight and ground load capabilities of the airframe.

The results of these tests will support the Raider X CP flight safety programme, as well as help in designing the full weapons system.

Sikorsky FARA chief engineer Pete Germanowski said: “We took an innovative approach with our second CP fuselage.

“The second fuselage has not only increased the efficiency of the build and test of our first CP aircraft, it gives us the option to build it out as a second CP aircraft, providing us with more flexibility and greater risk reduction.”

Last week, Sikorsky and Boeing selected six new suppliers for the Defiant X helicopter programme.