The first prototype Sikorsky S-97 Raider achieved electrical power-on for the first time during a May 28 test at the company’s West Palm Beach facility in Florida.
Based on the successful X2 demonstrator, the S-97 has been designed to compete in the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program to find replacements for a number of different helicopter types including the H-60 Black Hawk. Instead of the traditional main and tail rotor combination, the S-97 uses a rigid co-axial main rotor and a rear-mounted pusher propeller which provides safer handling characteristics and faster transit speeds.
“This is next-generation rotorcraft taking shape, with an aggressive schedule for getting air under the tires of the first RAIDER helicopter before the end of the year,” Sikorsky’s vice president of Research & Engineering, Mark Miller said in a statement. “We are making great progress, and in the meantime are keeping our interested customers keenly aware of the exceptional performance that this aircraft will bring.”
Sikorsky announced and unveiled a full-scale mockup of the S-97 at an event on October 20. The S-97 is planned to weigh about 5,000kg and will be armed with forward firing weapons and be able to carry six fully equipped troops.
The prototype X2 achieved a forward airspeed of 250 knots when tested back in 2010, nearly twice the speed of conventional helicopters.