Sikorsky, part of Lockheed Martin company, unveiled RAIDER X next-generation light attack/reconnaissance helicopter concept, its proposal for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, on Oct. 14.
The RAIDER X concept is an agile, lethal and survivable compound coaxial helicopter design based on Sikorsky’s X2 experimental high-speed compound helicopter. The concept is specifically designed for securing vertical lift dominance against evolving peer and near-peer threats on the future battlefield, said a company statement.
“RAIDER X converges everything we’ve learned in years of developing, testing and refining X2 Technology and delivers warfighters a dominant, survivable and intelligent system that will excel in tomorrow’s battlespace where aviation overmatch is critical,” said Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems. “The X2 Technology family of aircraft is a low-risk solution and is scalable based on our customers’ requirements.”
RAIDER X draws on Lockheed Martin’s broad expertise in developing innovative systems using the latest digital design and manufacturing techniques. Sikorsky’s RAIDER X prototype offers:
+ Exceptional Performance: The X2 rigid rotor provides increased performance including; highly responsive maneuverability, enhanced low-speed hover, off-axis hover, and level acceleration and braking. These attributes make us unbeatable at the X.
+ Agile, Digital Design: State-of-the-art digital design and manufacturing is already in use on other Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky production programs such as CH-53K, CH-148 and F-35, and will enable the Army to not only lower the acquisition cost, but enable rapid, affordable upgrades to stay ahead of the evolving threat.
+ Adaptability: Modern open systems architecture (MOSA)-based avionics and mission systems, offering “plug-and-play” options for computing, sensors, survivability and weapons, benefiting lethality and survivability, operational mission tailoring and competitive acquisitions.
+ Sustainable/Maintenance: Designed to decrease aircraft operating costs by utilizing new technologies to shift from routine maintenance and inspections to self-monitoring and condition-based maintenance, which will increase aircraft availability, reduce sustainment footprint forward and enable flexible maintenance operating periods.
+ Growth/Mission Flexibility: Focused on the future and ever evolving threat capabilities, X2 compound coaxial technology provides unmatched potential and growth margin for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This potential and growth margin further enables operational mission flexibility which includes a broader range of aircraft configurations and loadouts to accommodate specific mission requirements.
The nationwide supply team that Sikorsky has comprised to build RAIDER X will join company leaders to introduce RAIDER X during the annual conference of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA 2019) in Washington, D.C.
“RAIDER X is the culmination of decades of development, and a testament to our innovation and passion for solving our customers’ needs,” said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz. “By leveraging the strength of the entire Lockheed Martin Corporation, we will deliver the only solution that gives the U.S. Army the superiority needed to meet its mission requirements.”
With RAIDER X, Sikorsky introduces the latest design in its X2 family of aircraft. To date, X2 aircraft have achieved/demonstrated:
+ Speeds in excess of 250 knots
+ High altitude operations in excess of 9,000 feet
+ Low-speed and high-speed maneuver envelopes out to 60+ degrees angle of bank
+ ADS-33B (Aeronautical Design Standard) Level 1 handling qualities with multiple pilots
+ Flight controls optimization and vibration mitigation
“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 who has flown nearly every RAIDER test flight. “Every flight we take in our S-97 RAIDER today reduces risk and optimizes our FARA prototype, RAIDER X.”
The development of X2 Technology and the RAIDER program has been funded entirely by significant investments by Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and industry partners.