First Sikorsky S-97 Raider Prototypes Roll Out

Army interested in Raider as Kiowa replacement.

S-97 Raider Prototype

S-97 Raider Prototype

Sikorsky S-97 Raider

Sikorsky revealed the first two S-97 Raider helicopter prototypes, giving the world a glimpse of what future direct-fire-support rotorcraft may look like. The words stunning and lethal spring to mind.

Based on Sikorsky's record-setting X2 rigid-rotor coaxial demonstrator, the S-97 features next-generation technologies in a faster and smaller package than traditional helicopters, a combination that is intriguing to the rotorcraft-reliant U.S. Army.

Powered by a single engine connected to two contra-rotating main rotors and a six-blade rear-facing propeller, the helicopter is built with a composite airframe and has a max gross weight of a little more than 11,000 pounds. Its cockpit will have room for two pilots, while the flexible cabin space can accommodate up to six combat-ready troops or additional fuel and munitions for extended missions.

Sikorsky's coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller can provide cruise speeds up to 220 knots, Sikorsky says. The S-97 is intended to replace the Army's aging fleet of Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warriors. Flight testing is now expected to accelerate as the Army evaluates the S-97's performance.

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