Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider helicopter made its public debut at the Association of United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting and exposition earlier this week (Oct 12-14, 2015) in Washington, DC, USA.
The aircraft shown was one of two prototypes in the Raider helicopter program, based at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center (DFC). The first aircraft is undergoing flight testing, having undergone several upgrades since its maiden flight on May 22, 2015. It has since completed several take-offs and landings, low-speed flight in all cardinal directions, and the first run-on landings.
In addition, test activities approaching 50 hours have been conducted to date on a transmission system test bed (TSTB), supporting the endurance testing on the drive system components and positioning the Raider for more robust flight demonstration work. Envelope expansion will include achieving higher flight speeds, a higher load factor, and reaching greater altitudes.
“The S-97 Raider helicopter is in a very exciting phase of flight testing, as we are seeing the aircraft respond to the innovative engineering that makes this aircraft so remarkable,” said Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice-president of research and engineering. “We expect to accelerate the flight test program over the coming months, and with each successful flight, we are learning more and validating what we already know: that the S-97 Raider is going to bring tremendous capabilities to our customers.”
Sikorsky launched the S-97 Raider helicopter program in September 2010, with objectives of maturing the Collier-Award winning X2 rotorcraft configuration and demonstrating a helicopter that meets current US Army special operations and armed reconnaissance needs, while maturing technologies for Future Vertical Lift (FVL). Based on the X2 coaxial rotor design, the Raider helicopter is capable of being developed into a unique multi-mission configuration that is able to carry six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller are expected to provide cruise speeds up to 240kts (276mph).
October 16, 2015