Sikorsky has finally revealed images of the prototype of the advanced Raider X helicopter, which participates in the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.
A video released by Lockheed Martin shows the Raider X being taken outside its facilities to a runway.
There are no interior scenes, but the helicopter reveals its weapons and sensor side compartments.
The aircraft was designed with a revolutionary propulsion and lift system, consisting of advanced coaxial rotors and pusher propulsion, named X2.
The configuration promises high speeds of around 205 knots (380 km/h) and compact dimensions. The seats are arranged side by side, unlike its competitor, the Bell 360 Invictus, which uses a conventional formula.
The FARA program is long overdue to replace the OH-58 helicopters in the role of escort and reconnaissance aircraft. With the retirement of the Kiowa, the task has been taken over by the AH-64 Apache, which are not as suitable for it.
Sikorsky is still awaiting the completion of the development of the GE T901 engine to prepare for its maiden flight, which should take place in 2024. This is when the fly-off evaluation phase with Invictus will begin.
The Raider X benefited from the development of the S-97 concept, which uses the same technology. However, Sikorsky is coming off a painful defeat to Bell in another US Army competition, FLRAA (Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft).
Sikorsky offered the Defiant X to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk, but the Army considered the aircraft “unacceptable” due to engineering and development aspects.
The winner was the V-280 Valor, a tilt-rotor aircraft developed with lessons learned from the pioneering V-22 Osprey.