Siko­rsky S-97 Raider he­li­copter en­ters fi­nal as­sem­bly


Siko­rsky Air­craft Corp. has be­gun fi­nal as­sem­bly of the pro­to­type S-97 Raider he­li­copter fol­low­ing ac­cep­tance of the fuse­lage struc­ture from Aurora Flight Sciences.

Con­sist­ing of an in­te­grated cock­pit, cabin and tail cone, the com­pos­ite fuse­lage ar­rived Septem­ber 20 at Siko­rsky’s De­vel­op­ment Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the com­pany will com­plete a light tac­ti­cal ro­tor­craft de­signed to out­match con­ven­tional mil­i­tary he­li­copters in speed, ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity, pay­load, range and high al­ti­tude op­er­a­tions.

“The first fuse­lage marks a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the in­dus­try-funded Raider he­li­copter pro­gramme,” said De­bra Zampano, Siko­rsky S-97 Raider Pro­gram Di­rec­tor. “Aurora has de­liv­ered an ad­vanced com­pos­ite aerostruc­ture de­signed for our rapid de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme. The Siko­rsky team is now ready for fi­nal as­sem­bly of the pro­to­type Raider air­craft. We look for­ward to show­cas­ing the air­craft’s ex­cep­tional per­for­mance and value to the US mil­i­tary.”

Siko­rsky will con­vert the fuse­lage into a 36-foot-long, 11,000-lb. gross weight S-97 Raider pro­to­type air­craft. Con­fig­ured to Siko­rsky’s X2 coax­ial de­sign, the fly-by-wire con­trolled he­li­copter will fea­ture coun­ter­ro­tat­ing rigid main ro­tor blades for lift and for­ward flight, and a pusher pro­pel­ler for high speed ac­cel­er­a­tion and de­cel­er­a­tion.

Siko­rsky proved the ef­fi­ciency of the rigid ro­tor coax­ial de­sign in 2010 when its 6,000-lb. gross weight X2 demon­stra­tor he­li­copter achieved 250 knot flight speed, or twice the speed of con­ven­tional he­li­copters. It also demon­strated low pi­lot work­load and low acous­tic sig­na­ture.

The Raider pro­to­type air­craft will im­prove on the X2 demon­stra­tor by show­cas­ing pre­ci­sion ma­noeu­vrs in low flight speed, high G turn­ing ma­noeu­vrs at over 200 knots, hot day hover per­for­mance at al­ti­tudes up to 10,000 feet, and sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in pay­load and flight en­durance com­pared with con­ven­tional light tac­ti­cal he­li­copters.

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