NEW DELHI: Flying low, fast and expertly executing crisp, tight, quick maneuvers that only Sikorsky’s X2 Technology family of helicopters brings, the Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER helicopter flew two demonstrations before Army officials and Soldiers at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama this week.
The events offered a glimpse at Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company’s bid for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, part of the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort to revolutionize its aircraft fleet. Sikorsky is a Lockheed Martin Company.
The S-97 RAIDER, solely funded by Sikorsky 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,” he added.
RAIDER X will fully integrate the strengths of Lockheed Martin such as digital thread, advanced manufacturing, sustainment, training, and weapon and mission system development, manufacture and integration. At Sikorsky, the digital thread is built into current programs and is being utilized today in our digital advanced manufacturing facility. This proven, holistic life-cycle approach runs seamlessly throughout the design, development, production, supply chain and sustainment process. Today, all of Sikorsky’s programs are born in a digital environment. The power of this digital thread drives affordability, producibility, and reliability across the aircraft lifecycle.
In addition to the FARA competition, Sikorsky and partner Boeing is 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 flight 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.”he added.