Sikorsky on October 14 introduced RAIDER X, its concept for an agile, lethal and survivable compound coaxial helicopter that will compete for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. This introduction closely follows Bell Textron’s October 2 unveiling of a new rotorcraft concept, the Bell 360 Invictus, as its FARA competition entrant.
Sikorsky explains RAIDER X will provide the reach, protection and lethality required to remain victorious in future conflicts. “RAIDER X converges everything we’ve learned in years of developing, testing and refining X2 Technology and delivers warfighters a dominant, survivable and intelligent system that will excel in tomorrow’s battlespace where aviation overmatch is critical,” said Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems. “The X2 Technology family of aircraft is a low-risk solution and is scalable based on our customers’ requirements.”
To date, Sikorsky X2 aircraft have achieved speeds in excess of 250 knots; high-altitude operations in excess of 9,000 feet; low-speed and high-speed maneuver envelopes out to 60-plus degrees angle of bank; ADS-33B (Aeronautical Design Standard) Level 1 handling qualities with multiple pilots; and fight controls optimization and vibration mitigation.
“The power of X2 is game changing. It combines the best elements of low-speed helicopter performance with the cruise performance of an airplane,” said Sikorsky experimental test pilot Bill Fell, a retired Army pilot who has flown nearly every RAIDER test flight. “Every flight we take in our S-97 RAIDER today reduces risk and optimizes our FARA prototype, RAIDER X.”
Sikorsky points to the following features of its RAIDER X prototype:
• The X2 rigid rotor provides increased performance including; highly responsive maneuverability, enhanced low-speed hover, off-axis hover, and level acceleration and braking;
• State-of-the-art digital design and manufacturing is already in use on other Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky production programs, such as CH-53K, CH-148 and F-35, and will enable the Army to not only lower the acquisition cost, but enable rapid, affordable upgrades to stay ahead of the evolving threat;
• Modern open systems architecture (MOSA)-based avionics and mission systems, offering plug-and-play options for computing, sensors, survivability and weapons, benefiting lethality and survivability, operational mission tailoring and competitive acquisitions;
• Designed to decrease aircraft operating costs by utilizing new technologies to shift from routine maintenance and inspections to self-monitoring and condition-based maintenance, which will increase aircraft availability, reduce sustainment footprint forward and enable flexible maintenance operating periods; and
• Focused on the future and ever evolving threat capabilities, X2 compound coaxial technology provides unmatched potential and growth margin for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This potential and growth margin further enables operational mission flexibility which includes a broader range of aircraft configurations and loadouts to accommodate specific mission requirements.