Sikorsky Aircraft yesterday unveiled its X2 technology demonstrator here at Heli-Expo, with hordes of attendees surrounding the black-shrouded helicopter before it was revealed in a cloud of smoke and lights at the company’s booth (No. 1641). What emerged was a sleek-looking, two-pilot ship with a contra-rotating coaxial main rotor and an “aero propeller” in place of the tail rotor.
Sikorsky’s growth in the last four years has been astronomical. Since 2003 the company has doubled its revenue to almost $5 billion thanks to a succession of orders that have come pouring in from military and civil buyers. The latest deal, announced in December, was for 537 Black Hawks for the Army and Navy. These helicopters will be delivered over the next five years as part of a contract worth $7.4 billion.
Sikorsky’s X2 technology dem-onstrator could fly by year-end, according to Peter Grant, Sikorsky’s director of advanced programs. The X2 is a coaxial rigid-rotor compound helicopter designed to achieve forward speeds up to 250 knots, and at that clip it would become the world’s fastest helicopter. The current helicopter speed record of 217 knots (set by a Westland Lynx) has stood for more than 20 years.
Sikorsky is readying its X-2 demonstrator for flight tests late this year. The hybrid design, which looks like a helicopter with two contrarotating coaxial main rotors and one tail propulsor, already had its fly-by-wire system tested in a Schweizer 333. The actual X-2 has undergone engine and drive-train ground tests. Preliminary performance figures call for a 250-knot cruise speed and range of 500 nm.
Sikorsky is readying its X2 compound helicopter demonstrator for first flight in late 2007 or early 2008, the U.S. manufacturer announced here at the Paris Air Show. The hybrid design, which looks like a helicopter with two contrarotating coaxial main rotors and one tail propulsor, already had its fly-by-wire system tested in a small Schweizer 333 helicopter. The actual X2 has undergone engine and drive train ground tests.
Sikorsky Aircraft yesterday disclosed at the American Helicopter Society International annual technical forum in Grapevine, Texas, plans to build and test a demonstrator for a new class of coaxial helicopters that will have improved vertical flight capabilities and will cruise at 250 knots. The Stratford, Conn.
Jeff Pino, Sikorsky Aircraft president, laid out what he called the four pillars for Sikorsky’s future at a Heli-Expo press conference here. These are, he said, growth, excellence in execution, defining X2 technology applications and globalization. He said Sikorsky’s $3.2 billion in total revenue last year set a record for the company. Total revenue in 2005 was $2.8 billion.
United Technologies subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft announced at the American Helicopter Society annual forum earlier this month that it plans to build an experimental helicopter using a coaxial main rotor system that it says will achieve cruise speeds well above that of conventional helicopters. Coaxial helicopters have two counterrotating rotors on the same vertical axis.
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