The S-97 Raider light tactical prototype helicopter, developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has exceeded 200kt during its flight test demonstration at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center.
The helicopter has been developed to demonstrate the capabilities of Sikorsky’s X2 Technology as the company prepares its proposal to provide the technology for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) competition.
The X2 Technology enables the Sikorsky S-97 Raider aircraft to travel at speeds twice than that of conventional helicopters, while ensuring improved efficiency and safety.
Sikorsky Future Vertical Lift Light director Tim Malia said: “The Sikorsky S-97 Raider flight test programme is exceeding expectations, demonstrating Raider’s revolutionary speed, manoeuvrability and agility.
“X2 Technology represents a suite of technologies needed for the future fight, enabling the warfighter to engage in high-intensity conflict anytime, anywhere as a member of a complex, multi-domain team.”
The technology provides the helicopter with the capability to operate at high speeds, while maintaining the low-speed handling qualities and manoeuvrability of conventional, single main rotor aircraft.
Incorporated with advanced features such as fly-by-wire flight controls, vehicle management systems and systems integration, the S-97 Raider can use the X2 Technology to perform a wide range of military missions, including light assault, light attack, armed reconnaissance, close-air support, combat search and rescue, and unmanned applications.
Sikorsky experimental test pilot and US Army retired pilot Bill Fell said: “It’s undeniably important for the warfighter to get to the mission fast. And once they get there, X2 Technology provides the critical handling qualities that make the aircraft survivable, lethal and agile.”
Capable of flying speeds of more than 220kt at 10,000ft altitude, the next-generation prototype helicopter has the ability to carry six troops and external weapons, and is expected to be offered to the US Armed Forces to carry out flight testing and evaluation for future combat missions.