Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter achieves first flight

Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter achieves first flight

Pilots took the aircraft through a series of maneuvers designed to test the aircraft’s hover and low-speed capability.

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West Palm Beach, Florida – Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a United Technologies Corp. subsidiary, has successfully made the first flight of its S-97 Raider helicopter, a rigid coaxial rotor prototype designed to demonstrate a combination of maneuverability, hover ability, range, speed, endurance, and survivability. The first flight was conducted at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center (DFC) where the two-prototype Raider helicopter test program is based.
 
During the first test flight, which lasted approximately one hour on May 22, 2015, Raider Pilot Bill Fell and Co-Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck took the aircraft through a series of maneuvers designed to test the aircraft’s hover and low-speed capability. With first flight achieved, the Raider helicopter now moves into more progressive flight testing to demonstrate key performance parameters critical to future combat operations including armed reconnaissance, light assault, light attack, and special operations.
 
The Raider helicopter program is part of the portfolio of Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization within Sikorsky Aircraft’s Research & Engineering division.
 
Sikorsky launched the S-97 Raider helicopter program in September 2010, with objectives of maturing the Collier-Award winning X2 rotorcraft configuration and demonstrating a helicopter that meets current U.S. Army special operations and armed reconnaissance needs, while maturing technologies for Future Vertical Lift (FVL). The program is 100% industry-funded by Sikorsky Aircraft and its 53 industry partners.
 
Based on the X2 coaxial rotor design, the Raider helicopter is capable of being developed into a multi-mission configuration that is able to carry six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller are expected to provide cruise speeds up to 240kts (276mph).
 
The second Raider helicopter prototype is on track to complete final assembly in 2015. A demonstration tour of the Raider helicopter is planned for 2016.
 
Source: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.