The U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) has entered the prototype phase with Sikorsky’s RAIDER X, based on the S-97 RAIDER that features a composites fuselage.
The U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) will fly into demanding and contested environments, so it must be tough and fast with exceptional vertical lift, one of the Army’s six modernization priorities. Sikorsky’s RAIDER X is a fast, agile, survivable compound coaxial helicopter that provides key components that the Army requires including maneuverability, high cruise speed, a compact footprint, and high hot hover (hover capability at high altitudes and hot temperatures).
RAIDER X was selected to move to the second phase of the FARA competitive prototype program as part of the Army’s future vertical lift pursuit, so Sikorsky will continue to work on the RAIDER X prototype preparing it for a flight test program.
The RAIDER X, based on Sikorsky’s S-97 RAIDER, will benefit from the S-97’s X2 Technology that combines rigid, counter-rotating blades, fly-by-wire flight controls, and an integrated auxiliary propulsion system. Lockheed Martin will provide services from digital design to mission systems.
To meet the stringent requirements of the S-97, Sikorsky partnered with companies including Rotating Composite Technologies, Hexcel and Eagle Aviation Technologies. The fuselage of the helicopter is built of composite materials to provide the lightweight, strength and toughness needed in extreme conditions.
“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. “Every flight we take in our S-97 RAIDER today reduces risk and optimizes our FARA prototype, RAIDER X.”
Sikorsky will also continue to work on the X2 Technology program as part of the RAIDER X project.