The S-97 RAIDER, solely funded by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is the only representative FARA aircraft flying today and provides risk reduction for Sikorsky’s FARA concept, RAIDER X®, a fast, agile, survivable compound coaxial helicopter that will allow future aviators to address evolving peer and near-peer threats in the most difficult environments.
“Since the first Black Hawk took to the skies in the 1970s, to when our teams broke helicopter speed records with X2 Technology in 2010, we have been working with our Army partners to develop and deliver low-risk, transformational, affordable and sustainable aircraft to support the warfighters’ missions,” said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo, who was at Redstone this week. “This is the first of what we believe will be many times our X2 Future Vertical Lift aircraft will fly at Redstone.”
We’re Revolutionizing Army Aviation through
the Future Vertical Lift Program
In addition to the FARA competition, Sikorsky and partner Boeing are offering the DEFIANT X™ for the Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition. With RAIDER X and DEFIANT X, the Army could have common, scalable aircraft with the mission advantage the Army is looking for. Both FARA and FLRAA are among the Army’s top modernization priorities meant to address near-peer threats in the multi-domain operations (MDO) of 2030 and beyond.
“Through this week’s RAIDER flights and our ongoing test program with DEFIANT, we are demonstrating the future of Army Aviation,” said Kevin Mangum, Lockheed Martin vice president, Army programs.
“With RAIDER X, we will fill a critical Army capability gap, providing the speed, reach, lethality and convergence to fight and win on the MDO battlefield, today and into the future. DEFIANT X will be the world’s best assault aircraft – like our great Black Hawk – for decades to come. Our X2-designed aircraft provide commonality – in parts, systems, maintenance and training. And, DEFIANT X has the same operational footprint as the Black Hawk, reducing the Army’s total cost of ownership by eliminating any modifications to existing facilities.”
Flight Demonstrations Highlight Maneuverability
and Speed Where it Matters
On April 13 and 15 at Redstone, Sikorsky’s Christiaan Corry and Bill Fell piloted the S-97 RAIDER flight routines that highlighted both low-level helicopter maneuverability and the high-speed capability that only Sikorsky’s X2 Technology family of helicopters offers. Corry previously flew with the first Army experimental test pilot in S-97 RAIDER, with additional events to come.
“Flying RAIDER continues to amaze me,” said Corry, a former U.S. Marine with more than 4,500 flight hours in 25 types of aircraft including the CH-53E, CH-53K and others. “The combination of the coaxial rotors and the propulsor are really the enablers 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. ”
“RAIDER is a tremendous risk reduction vehicle for RAIDER X and DEFIANT X and enables us to make data-driven design decisions for both aircraft,” said Fell, a retired Master Army Aviator and former Army experimental test pilot. “Every time we fly, we are learning something that goes right into RAIDER X and DEFIANT X.”
Sikorsky has been flying and testing X2 Technology for more than a decade, accumulating nearly 500 hours on its X2 Technology test beds and aircraft including the X2 Technology Demonstrator, RAIDER and DEFIANT.
Learn more about this event, our digital transformation efforts, and Future Vertical Lift by reading the full release.