First Flight For Sikorsky Raider


The S-97 Raider, a helicopter prototype based on Sikorsky’s Collier-Prize-winning X2 technology, flew for the first time last Friday, the company has announced. The S-97 is designed to demonstrate “a game-changing combination of maneuverability, hover ability, range, speed, endurance and survivability,” the company said. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller are expected to provide cruise speeds up to 240 knots. The Raider has the potential to be developed into a multi-mission military aircraft that will be capable of carrying six troops plus external weapons, the company said.

The test flight launched from West Palm Beach, Florida, and lasted about an hour. The two-pilot crew took the aircraft through a series of maneuvers designed to test hover and low-speed capabilities. The Raider helicopter now moves into more progressive flight testing to demonstrate key performance parameters critical to future combat operations including armed reconnaissance, light assault, light attack and special operations, the company said. A second Raider prototype is already in development, and will be completed later this year. The company is planning a demo tour of the Raider for 2016.