Sikorsky X2 Makes Its Final Flight

Attention now turns to the S-97 Raider attack helicopter.

Sikorsky X2

Sikorsky X2

Sikorsky X2Sikorsky

The X2 technology demonstrator has made its final flight, allowing manufacturer Sikorsky to shift its focus to the development of the S-97 Raider, a fast and agile light attack helicopter that borrows the X2's twin-coaxial rotor design.

The final flight on July 14 was the 23rd test flight of the Collier-Award-winning X2, which flew about 22 hours in all and achieved a maximum cruise speed of 253 knots in level flight at that peak of the program. That milestone, an unofficial speed record for a conventional helicopter, was achieved on Sept. 15, 2010.

“This flight is the culmination of a five-year, internally funded program to expand the operational envelope of helicopters,” said Sikorsky president Jeffrey Pino. “The results of this program speak to the success of a rapid prototyping environment, where a small empowered team was able to meet a specific number of very challenging goals. We met these within a small budget and a compressed schedule.”

The X2 program also helped hone the skills of the next generation of Sikorsky helicopter engineers, including some who are now in key positions on the S-97 Raider and Firefly electric helicopter programs, Pino added. “Today, the entire Sikorsky workforce stands proud of this accomplishment and what it means for the future of rotorcraft aviation.”

For the S-97 Raider program, Sikorsky will design, build and fly two prototype light tactical helicopters for evaluation by the U.S. military, which is seeking a fast and maneuverable next-generation combat helicopter. The program will produce two prototype assault/attack aircraft with six-passenger cabins and the ability to carry armament. Miller said.

The X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and funding – ultimately $50 million – for the program’s development. Earlier this year, the X2 Technology demonstrator team won the 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy. Sikorsky is bringing the aircraft to EAA Airventure Oshkosh next week.