by Richard Tomkins
West Palm Beach, Fla. (UPI) Oct 3, 2014
Sikorsky Aircraft has unveiled a prototype high-performance armed reconnaissance helicopter with a speed double that of other helicopters.
The prototype is called the S-97 Raider, which was developed using industry funding.
"Today, Sikorsky unveiled the next generation of military rotorcraft, with capabilities and performance never seen before in our industry," said Sikorsky President Mick Maurer. "Just four years ago, we announced plans to build the S-97 Raider and teamed with some of the best companies in the industry, understanding the need to ensure aircraft development would not falter as government defense budgets shrank in response to economic pressures.
"Sikorsky is proud of its leadership in this area, and of the leadership the S-97 RAIDER represents among the world's military rotorcraft."
The first two S-97 prototypes were put on display at the company's facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday and will not enter the test phase of the development program.
The S-97 is a single-engine aircraft that uses the company's X-2 rotor coaxial design -- counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller -- for speed. Its fuselage is made of composite materials. The aircraft's gross weight is a bit more than 11,000 pounds.
Maximum speed of the aircraft is 230 knots.
It will be able to carry as many as six fully equipped combat troops and will be offered to the U.S. Army as a replacement for OH-58D Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance helicopters and as the special operations platform.
"Raider marks the first unveiling of a new relevant rotorcraft configuration in 30 years," said Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering Mark Miller. "With the Raider program, Sikorsky has brought innovation to every aspect of the process, rethinking the way we design, build, test and support the product.
"We've kept a close eye on lowering development, production and support costs while increasing productivity and quality, and we are confident that the Raider is the solution for the future warfighter."
Sikorsky said 53 principal suppliers are involved in the program. They provided 25 percent of the funding for the aircraft's development. The remainder was provided by Sikorsky.
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com
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