Sikorsky’s S-97 RAIDER closer to first flight
June 17, 2014, West Palm Beach, Fla. - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.has announced it has turned on electrical power for the first time to the S-97 RAIDER prototype helicopter, signalling successful installation of the avionics system and a major step toward completing the assembly of the new – and first – light tactical rotorcraft featuring X2 Technology.
By Carey Fredericks
The key milestone on the first of two aircraft planned to be built in the RAIDER program took place May 28, 2014, at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Centre where the aircraft is being assembled. The successful powering on means that the cockpit multifunction displays and control display unit (CDU) are operational, as are the CDU controlled electronic circuit breakers. The aircraft will undergo electrical power and avionics Acceptance Test Procedures (ATPs) for the next several weeks, to complete the checkout of the remaining avionics, electrical, and flight control systems.
“This is a big milestone for a development program; the aircraft comes to life when power goes on,” said S-97 RAIDER Program Manager Mark Hammond. He also noted that several RAIDER suppliers played a critical role in achieving the “power on” milestone, including the Sikorsky Avionics Product Centre, Esterline-Korry, Esterline-Mason, United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS), Lockheed Martin, Garmin, Avionics Instruments, BAE, Honeywell, Pacific Scientific, Northrup Grumman, Meggitt, and LMS.
The aircraft is about halfway through the assembly process, with several key components in production and scheduled to be installed in the next few months.
“This is next-generation rotorcraft taking shape, with an aggressive schedule for getting air under the tires of the first RAIDER helicopter before the end of the year,” said Mark Miller, vice president of Research & Engineering. “We are making great progress, and in the meantime are keeping our interested customers keenly aware of the exceptional performance that this aircraft will bring. We are really looking forward to showing its value to the U.S. military.”
The RAIDER is targeted to fly by the end of 2014. Sikorsky plans to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities to the U.S. military beginning in 2015.
The S-97 RAIDER helicopter is a revolutionary rotorcraft that will deliver X2 Technology in a new light tactical rotorcraft designed to outmatch conventional military helicopters in speed, maneuverability, and high altitude operations. The fly-by-wire controlled helicopter will feature counter-rotating 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 co-axial 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.