Who doesn’t like cool-looking helicopters? Sikorsky Aircraft’s new S-97 Raider advanced prototype is one sleek-looking copter but not just that, it’s able to swiftly carry out low-level maneuvers and high-speed runs.
The helicopter was shown off in two demonstration flights on April 13th and April 15th this year. The demonstration was for the US Army at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. The helicopter is the company’s candidate for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft or FARA program. The program is under the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift or FVL initiative.
The helicopter was flown by pilots Christiaan Corry and Bill Fell who demonstrated both low-level maneuvers and also high-speed runs. The helicopter is a compound variant based on the company’s X2 technology demonstrator. The helicopter uses variable speed rigid coaxial rotors to tilt independently of one another.
There’s also a variable-pitch pusher propeller, a fly-by-wire system, and dynamic anti-vibration actuators. All these make for improved horizontal speed, hovering, low-speed maneuverability, and reduced shaking.
According to pilot Christiaan Corry, “Flying Raider continues to amaze me. The combination of the coaxial rotors and the propulsor is really the enabler for this transformational technology. As we demonstrated today, in low-speed flight, we are as capable as a conventional helicopter, but when we engage the prop, we are able to operate in a whole new way – it’s much more like flying an airplane”.
You can watch the helicopter in action in the video below.
The raider is able to carry a crew of two in a side-by-side configuration. With a total capacity of six passengers, the helicopter is powered by a General Electric YT706 turboshaft engine, the same also used in the MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. The Raiders is able to put out 2,600 bhp (1,900 kW) with a cruising speed of 250 mph and a range of 350 miles with external weapons load. The standard armament will be a .50 caliber machine gun and seven-round rocket pods.
Anyone getting command & conquer vibes while looking at the helicopter? Maybe it’s just me.