Military

Sikorsky reveals first S-97 Raider helicopter prototype

The Sikorsky S-97 Raider that is intended to replace the US Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider that is intended to replace the US Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is currently undergoing flight tests
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is currently undergoing flight tests
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is amulti-mission helicopter
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is amulti-mission helicopter
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider's pusher propeller
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider's pusher propeller
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a 15 percent smaller footprint than conventional helicopters
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a 15 percent smaller footprint than conventional helicopters
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has fixed contra-rotating coaxial rotors
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has fixed contra-rotating coaxial rotors
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is based on the X2 Demonstrator
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is based on the X2 Demonstrator
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider that is intended to replace the US Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider that is intended to replace the US Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a six-blade pusher propeller
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a six-blade pusher propeller

Sikorsky's record-breaking X2 Demonstrator helicopter may be a museum piece these days, but the technology that went into it is still alive and kicking as the United Technologies subsidiary takes the wraps off the first of its two S-97 Raider helicopter prototypes. According to Sikorsky, this event marks the beginning of the armed reconnaissance ‘copter’s flight tests aimed at providing the US Army with its next generation of combat rotorcraft.

Unlike many military aircraft programs, the S-97 Raider is wholly funded by private investment with Sikorsky funding 75 percent of the costs and 53 principal suppliers providing the rest. It’s based on Sikorsky’s X2 technology, which features a pair of fixed coaxial rotors made of rigid, counter-rotating blades along with a six-blade pusher propeller for propulsion.

According to Sikorsky, this arrangement, along with fly-by-wire flight controls and active vibration control, provides not only a reduction in hub drag, but also a low acoustic signature, high cruise speed and improved high/hot hover performance.

The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a 15 percent smaller footprint than conventional helicopters
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a 15 percent smaller footprint than conventional helicopters

Sikorsky intends the S-97 Raider as a multi-mission craft that will act as a replacement for the US Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter or the Special Forces’ MH-6 Little Bird. Depending on how it’s equipped, it can be used for armed reconnaissance, light attack, light assault, search and rescue, or casualty evacuation.

To achieve this, the S-97 has a composite fuselage for a takeoff weight of 11,000 lb (4,990 kg) and is powered by a single General Electric YT706 engine putting out 2,600 bhp (1,900 kW). Its length of 35 ft (11 m) and rotor diameter of 34 ft (10 m) gives it a 15 percent smaller footprint than conventional helicopters, though it can still carry a crew of two seated side by side, along with six troops or extra fuel and munitions. The production version may also be capable of autonomous flight

Sikorsky says that the S-97 Raider has a cruising speed of 253 mph (407 km/h, 220 kn), which is more than double the speed of conventional helicopters, and pulls three G’s in the turns for greater agility. It has a range of 308 nmi (354 mi, 570 km), flight endurance of 2hr 40min, and a service ceiling of 10,000 ft (3,048 m).

The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a six-blade pusher propeller
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider has a six-blade pusher propeller

The S-97 Raider can carry a selection of armaments, including a 50 caliber or 7.62 mm machine gun with 500 rounds, a 7-shot rocket pod with 2.75 in rockets, or Hellfire missiles.

"Today, Sikorsky unveiled the next generation of military rotorcraft, with capabilities and performance never seen before in our industry,” says Sikorsky President Mick Maurer. “Just four years ago, we announced plans to build the S-97 Raider and teamed with some of the best companies in the industry, understanding the need to ensure aircraft development would not falter as government defense budgets shrank in response to economic pressures. Sikorsky is proud of its leadership in this area, and of the leadership the S-97 Raider represents among the world’s military rotorcraft."

The aircraft will undergo initial flight tests in the coming months.

The video below shows the formal unveiling of the S-97 Raider.

Source: Sikorsky

13 comments
Lewis M. Dickens III
Finally some beauty involved! Thanks David!!
dugnology
I'm surprised they are going after the Kiowa and Little Bird, both of which seem much less expensive and smaller. I fully endorse this technology, but it seems to be overkill for this particular mission.
EddieG
So they call it the "Raider," eh? Evidently the traditional Indian names have come to an end. I suppose they don't want to risk the bad publicity the liberal press heaped on the Washing sports team. What a pity. I hate to see tradition bend to sociopolitical trends.
steveraxx
It is repulsive how there is always money available for the development of machines that kill people.
the.other.will
The OH-58D is already being retired due to a combination of age, obsolescence & sequestration forced budget cuts. The Army will be using AH-64D gunships & MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones (their version of the Predator) to temporarily fill the scout role. The AH & MH-6 are only used by the 160th Regiment. They get whatever they want that the Army can afford. They're expected to want the S-97 for it's high performance. Sikorsky is also using the S-97 to prove the technology for their bid for the Future Vertical Lift program (UH-60 replacement) that the Army regards as critical & more important than a new scout.
michael_dowling
The Nazis had a very successful helicopter with counter-rotating inter-meshing rotors in WW2.I am surprised this technology has been used so little.It certainly cures the problem of retreating blade stall,making much higher speeds obtainable.
Esteban Sperber Frankel
This aircraft is not a helicopter, this aircraft is the most advanced gyro-plane.
Derek Howe
awesome helo.
Stephen N Russell
can it carry 50 cal MG, 40mm, 20mm arms? Have civil apps IE Air Cargo Tourism Exec aside Defense
Bob
A machine gun with ONLY 500 rounds??? For battles lasting less than a few seconds? Rambo carried this much firepower. With the exception of the missiles, this sounds pretty lightly armed for any assault role. Half a dozen small drones would be cheaper. The only real advantage would be the speed.