Sikorsky has announced it will use an X2 Technology light tactical helicopter (LTH) simulator to show its customers the capabilities of its flying X2 technology demonstrator. One of those customers could be the U.S. Army, which would use it as an armed aerial scout.
The most visible features of the fly-by-wire X2 are its dual, counter-rotating main rotor and a ducted aft propulsor. Sikorsky introduced the X2 Technology demonstrator in 2005 and the compound helicopter made its first flight in August 2008. Since then, the program has been progressing deliberately through flight testing with the goal of achieving an expected top speed of 250 knots speed later this year.
The Sikorsky Innovations team of engineers, who are in charge of the simulator, say it will provide potential customers with a “tangible experience” of X2 technology for military and other missions. As development of the simulator progresses, it should integrate manned-unmanned teaming and optional pilot capabilities.
“The X2 LTH simulator will demonstrate the military application of the capabilities that we are proving out with our X2 Technology demonstrator,” said Teresa Carleton, vice president, mission systems integration. “With the simulator, we can fly a light tactical helicopter variation of the X2 Technology demonstrator through various mission scenarios and demonstrate the advantages of speed, high agility, low acoustic signature and low vibrations. It will be a tremendous, mobile tool that we can bring to potential customers to give them a ‘hands on’ sense of the flight and mission advantages we are bringing to the aviation landscape.”
The armed aerial scout program is aimed at replacing aging Bell OH-58 Kiowas. Eurocopter, EADS North America and Lockheed Martin are pitching the AAS-72X, a derivative of the UH-72A Lakota, which is based on the Eurocopter EC 145.