The RAF will receive the first of 14 new heavy-lift helicopters in 2026.
Sikorsky showcases new S-97 Raider during flight demonstrations
Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky flew two demonstrations of its S-97 Raider helicopter on 13 April and 15 April, witnessed by US Army officials at the Redstone Arsenal.
The S-97 has been designed specially as a candidate for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft prototype competition.
The Raider X concept promises to deliver a fast, agile and survivable compound coaxial helicopter. It will enable pilots to address evolving peer and near-peer threats in the most difficult environments.
Lockheed Martin will provide the Raider X project with digital thread, advanced manufacturing, sustainment, training and weapons and system development. The digital thread ensures Raider X will maintain affordability, producibility and reliability throughout the aircraft’s lifecycle.
The aircraft will provide the speed, reach, lethality and convergence to overcome growing challenges on the multi-domain operations battlefield. According to Sikorsky, the aircraft offers unmatched low-level manoeuvrability and high-speed capability due to its combination of coaxial rotors and its propulsor.
The Future Vertical Lift aircraft will have more actionable maintenance data than previous models of aircraft. This will increase the operational readiness, availability and reduces the life cycle of the S-97 Raider and other platforms based on Sikorsky X2 technology.
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The UK MoD has still to put forward requirements for its new medium helicopter acquisition, which could see offers eventually arrive from the likes of Airbus, Bell, Leonardo and Lockheed Martin.
Ahead of a FLRAA contract award to Bell or a joint Boeing and Sikorsky team, the US Army has decided to keep manufacturing costs and programme risks confidential.
Air-to-ground and ground-to-ground launchers from Arnold Defense are approved to fire FZ90 2.75-inch rockets.
DGA orders eight H225Ms and a second VSR700 prototype from Airbus Helicopters.
Production is underway in the US of 12 AH-1Z helicopters for Bahrain.