Sikorsky performed a ceremonial rollout of the S-97 Raider helicopter at West Palm Beach on October 2. The aircraft is one of two prototypes that are based on the company’s X2 rigid coaxial rotor plus pusher-propeller technology demonstrator that broke the rotary-wing world speed record in 2010. Sikorsky is proposing the Raider as a replacement for the U.S. Army’s large fleet of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors armed aerial scouts, and for special operations.
Sikorsky S-97 Raider
Sikorsky Aircraft powered on its S-97 Raider prototype on May 28 at the company’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Florida, marking the successful installation of the avionics system and a major step toward completing the assembly of the new light tactical rotorcraft. A contender for the U.S.
Sikorsky Aircraft vice president of research and engineering Mark Miller confirmed that the Stratford, Conn.-based helicopter manufacturer plans to develop a civilian version of the S-97 Raider, which is a contender for the U.S. Army’s armed aerial scout program. The S-97, he said, is a production-ready, “scaled-up version of the X2 demonstrator,” with both helicopters having contrarotating rotor blades and a pusher propeller that enables high-speed forward flight. A civil variant of the S-97 would be “ideal” for offshore oil, search and rescue and VIP transport, according to Miller.
Sikorsky Aircraft anticipates contract awards this year from the U.S. Air Force for its new combat rescue helicopter (CRH) and from the Navy for a new U.S. presidential helicopter.
Sikorsky Aircraft highlighted its past achievements, and their influence on the company’s current direction, in introducing its theme of “Technology Meets Tradition” at Heli-Expo 2014 on Tuesday.
Faced with tough budget decisions on new weapons programs, the U.S. Army appears to be delaying a decision on the $6- to $8 billion Armed Aerial Scout program while concurrently moving forward with the potential $100 billion joint multi-role (JMR) initiative.