S-97 Raider prototype helicopter enters final assembly
The prototype S-97 Raider helicopter has reached the final stages of assembly at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, following the delivery of the fuselage by Aurora Flight Sciences.
Sikorsky will convert the fuselage into a 36-foot-long, 11,000-lb.-gross weight S-97 Raider prototype aircraft. Configured to Sikorsky's X2 coaxial design, the fly-by-wire controlled helicopter will feature counter-rotating rigid main rotor blades for lift and forward flight, and a pusher propeller for high speed acceleration and deceleration.
Debra Zampano, Sikorsky S-97 Raider program director, said: ‘The first fuselage marks a significant milestone for the industry-funded Raider helicopter programme. Aurora has delivered an advanced composite aerostructure designed for our rapid development programme. The Sikorsky team is now ready for final assembly of the prototype Raider aircraft. We look forward to showcasing the aircraft's exceptional performance and value to the US military.’
Sikorsky proved the efficiency of the rigid rotor co-axial design in 2010 when its 6,000-lb. gross weight X2 demonstrator helicopter achieved 250 knot flight speed, or twice the speed of conventional helicopters. It also demonstrated low pilot workload and low acoustic signature.
The Raider prototype aircraft will improve on the X2 demonstrator by showcasing precision manoeuvres in low flight speed, high G turning manoeuvres at over 200 knots, hot day hover performance at altitudes up to 10,000 feet, and significant improvements in payload and flight endurance compared with conventional light tactical helicopters.
Sikorsky intends to begin demonstrating the Raider helicopter's flight capabilities to the US military and other potential customers in 2015.
More from Defence Helicopter
Germany has committed to sending Ukraine six of its 21 retiring WS-61 Westland Sea King multirole, amphibious helicopters.
Boeing has clinched a major contract modification to further its backing of the US Special Operations Command’s MH-47G Chinook aircraft modernisation effort.
Two KAI helicopters, the KUH-1E utility helicopter and the Light Attack Helicopter (LAH), have taken centre stage at the Dubai Airshow 2023.
The Italian Navy now boasts a fleet of 56 NH90 helicopters comprising 46 SH-90As and 10 MH-90As.
The Argentinian Air Force (FAA) and the Argentinian Naval Aviation Command (COAN) are looking for options to upgrade their helicopter fleets.
Lockheed Martin promises a boost to the British job market and export opportunities, while strengthening ties with Poland and positioning the UK for a future in rotorcraft technology in the event of a New Medium Helicopter competition triumph.