Advancing the Next Generation of Army Aviation: FARA Enters Prototype Phase

Advancing the Next Generation of Army Aviation: FARA Enters Prototype Phase
March 25, 2020
The Army calls the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) a “knife fighter” for the future battlefield. This out-front platform will fly into the most demanding and contested environments and requires maximum performance in a small package. Sikorsky’s RAIDER X is ready to fill this requirement. 

RAIDER X is specifically designed for vertical lift dominance against evolving peer and near-peer threats in a joint all domain environment. The U.S. Army selected RAIDER X to move to the second phase of the FARA competitive prototype program as part of the future vertical lift pursuit. This means that Sikorsky will further mature the design, development and build of the RAIDER X prototype, leading up to a flight test program. RAIDER X offers:

  • Reach in the forms of speed, combat radius, endurance and payload
  • Survivability through a revolutionary, game-changing leap in holistic protection, maneuverability and agility including a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) that quickly adapts to new technology and threat capabilities.
  • Lethality that includes a combination of speed, payload and maneuverability to employ an array of sensor and weapon systems coupled with MOSA to rapidly field and employ new capabilities.
  • Sustainment that is designed into the aircraft using a digital thread 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 thread
  • Growth and Mission Flexibility that is 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.


X2 Technology is at the core of Sikorsky’s S-97 RAIDER program. This suite of technology combines rigid, counter-rotating blades, fly-by-wire flight controls, and an integrated auxiliary propulsion system.

The S-97 RAIDER’s flight test program has demonstrated the requirements of the FARA program. Sikorsky is so confident in its RAIDER X offering because of the experience being built up with the S-97 RAIDER in flight. The technology that will be incorporated into RAIDER X is already being proven not on paper or in simulation, but on the flight field. This significantly reduces risk for the RAIDER X concept, which is already being built.

Sikorsky will continue to mature X2 Technology through the S-97 RAIDER flight test program.

“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 is no stranger to the Army mission, with over 40 years of partnership supporting the needs of Army aviators. RAIDER X will give warfighting commanders day one battlefield advantage. 

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