Sikorsky Raider X Helicopter Prototype 85 Percent Complete, Power Up Coming Next

Sikorsky Raider X competitive prototype 8 photos
Photo: Lockheed Martin
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Earlier today, we got a glimpse of the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant, as the U.S. Army’s possible future helicopter traveled for over 800 miles between West Palm Beach, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee. The chopper, part of the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, is however not the only goodie Sikorsky is working on.
Enter the S-97 Raider (project name Raider X), a beast similar to the Defiant, but being developed for the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. We’ve seen it before over the past couple of years, as the company was putting it together, and now we get a little update on the progress made with it.

This week, Sikorsky said the Raider competitive prototype, the one to be shown before interested parties, is now 85 percent complete, and weight on wheels was achieved. With half of the required test procedures completed, powering up the chopper’s systems comes next.

In addition to the Raider prototype, Sikorsky has also completed a second fuselage, one to be used “to validate the flight and ground loads capability of the airframe.”

The exact details of the finished product are not known, but the Raider should be cheaper to operate, faster, could travel further and carry more load than existing helicopters.

And it’s also highly maneuverable. Because of the way it is made, with a coaxial rotor system up top and a vertical propeller at the rear, it can accelerate without tilting the main rotor forward, decelerate without flaring, and turn in half the distance of today’s helicopters.

“The FARA mission requires operational flexibility, and RAIDER X provides that operational flexibility the Army needs including speed where it matters, a large multi-functional weapons bay and unprecedented acceleration and deceleration capability,” said in a statement Jay Macklin, Sikorsky business development director.

“RAIDER X is the most agile, lethal and survivable aircraft, designed for vertical lift dominance against evolving threats of the future.”

At the time of writing, it’s unclear when the Raider could enter service.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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