Sikorsky Aircraft announced Friday that it has completed the first flight of S-97 RAIDER helicopter, designed to demonstrate a game-changing combination of maneuverability, hover ability, range, speed, endurance and survivability.
Based on the X2 coaxial rotor design, the RAIDER helicopter is capable of being developed into a multi-mission configuration that is able to carry six troops and external weapons.
The first flight, conducted at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center (DFC), lasted for an hour. RAIDER Pilot Bill Fell and Co-Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck took the aircraft through a series of maneuvers designed to test the aircraft's hover and low-speed capability.
After the successful first flight, 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.
Sikorsky launched the S-97 RAIDER helicopter program in September 2010, with objectives of maturing the Collier-Award winning X2 rotorcraft configuration and demonstrating a helicopter that meets current US Army special operations and armed reconnaissance needs, while maturing technologies for Future Vertical Lift (FVL).
The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller are expected to provide cruise speeds up to 240 knots (276 mph).
The second RAIDER helicopter prototype is on track to complete final assembly in 2015. A demonstration tour of the RAIDER helicopter is planned for 2016.