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 continues to inch toward flying its X2 technology demonstrator coaxial compound helicopter for the first time at its R&D and test facility in Horseheads, N.Y. At press time, the X2 had made three separate “blades-on” ground runs, with a cumulative engine run time of 30 minutes. Data analyzed during the ground run includes the performance of the X2’s belly-mounted active vibration control system.