Sikorsky hosted the inaugural flight demonstration of its S-97 Raider™ at its West Palm Beach flight test center this summer.
The S-97 Raider, a high-speed coaxial helicopter powered by a single GE YT706 engine, smoothly demonstrated both top-end speed and agility.
The Raider aircraft is an industry-funded, risk-reduction demonstrator that is supporting Sikorsky’s entry into the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL), Future Attack Recon Aircraft (FARA), and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) initiatives. GE Aviation’s YT706 engine—a 2,600 shaft-horsepower variant of the T700 that includes a FADEC (full authority digital engine control)—is a key player on the single-engine S-97.
The S-97 features next-generation technologies that are expected to meet or exceed the Army’s FARA requirements. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller provide cruise speeds up to 220 knots (253 mph), significantly more than the speed of conventional helicopters. The clutched rear propeller can boost speed or shut off in hover. The Raider also exhibits enhanced maneuverability, significantly improved high/hot hover performance, and greater range and endurance.