Aircraft

Sikorsky S-97 Raider spins up coaxial rotors on maiden flight

Sikorsky S-97 Raider spins up ...
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider prototype takes to the air for the first time
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider prototype takes to the air for the first time
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider prototype takes to the air for the first time
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The Sikorsky S-97 Raider prototype takes to the air for the first time
The co-axial Sikorsky S-97 Raider was first unveiled in 2014
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The co-axial Sikorsky S-97 Raider was first unveiled in 2014

Sikorsky's S-97 Raider prototype helicopter, which was revealed to the world last year, has taken to the air for the firsttime. Based on the design of the X2 Technology Demonstrator, the S-97 Raiderfeatures coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller and isintended as a multi-mission aircraft to replace the US Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warriorhelicopter and the Special Forces’ MH-6 Little Bird.

While Sikorsky anticipates it will be capable ofcruise speeds of up to 240 knots (276 mph, 444 km/h), and the X2 demonstrator achieved a speed of250 knots (288 mph, 463 km/h) in 2010, the S-97 Raider's first flight was limited to a series ofmaneuvers intended to test its hover and low-speed capabilities. With pilotBill Fell and co-pilot Kevin Bredenbeck at the controls, the maiden flight atSikorsky's Development Flight Center (DFC) in Florida lasted around an hour.

The co-axial Sikorsky S-97 Raider was first unveiled in 2014
The co-axial Sikorsky S-97 Raider was first unveiled in 2014

Having successfully completed its first flight, theS-97 Raider prototype will now move onto more progressive flight testingintended to demonstrate capabilities critical to a variety of potential combat missions,including armed reconnaissance, light assault, light attack and specialoperations.

Sikorsky has a demonstration tour planned for the S-97Raider in 2016. A second prototype is also currently under construction, and isset to be completed by the end of this year.

Source: Sikorsky

15 comments
mhpr262
One seriously badass looking piece of equipment! I can't wait to see the armed gunship versions. There is enough room in the passenger compartment to put in dozens of Griffin glidebombs or Switchblade or BattleHawk UAVs at any rate, regardless of how many MGs, autocannons and rocketlaunchers they attach to external hardpoints.
VoiceofReason
Sikorsky makes great stuff....wondering why it took them almost 50 years to build what is essentially a slightly modified Cheyenne though. The AH-56 was able to achieve over 200 knots (230mph) in 1967 during it's first flight test.
Charles S Roscoe
Two sets of blades? How ...noisy ...is ...it, compared to existing Huey and Osprey variations? Faster and noisier is not an advantage!
Germano Pecoraro
Sikorsky S-97 Raider (together with a new design of Boeing Vertol and others) are trying to find new aerodynamic configurations, that can offer the same performance as complicated convertiplanes. They are welcome a S70 or AW139 400 km / h!
jerryd
It's about time they got back to this design as so much better than a 1 blade in speed, lifting power, stability, etc. And it'll make less noise , not more as the rotors turn slower and less loaded/sq' of rotor making it more eff, longer range.
the.other.will
This looks somewhat like the AH-56 but it's really quite different. It has counter-rotating rigid rotors instead of a conventional hinged main rotor + a tail rotor. That translates to greater maneuverability, less vulnerability, and less maintenance. The AH-56 was ahead of it's time so the tech didn't exist yet to make it an affordable design. That's why the AH-64 doesn't have a propeller.
michael_dowling
I am at a loss to understand why the aviation community ignores Carter Aviation Technologies gyro-copters. The major advantage for gyros is the absence of an extremely complex and expensive transmission: http://www.cartercopters.com/ From reading the technical data,it would appear Carter has made some important advances over earlier gyro technology.
Derek Howe
great. This is without a doubt the future of helo's, it's better in every way.
Ranscapture
What happens to the air in between both sets of blades?
kmccune
I'm just starting to get comfortable with the V-22,is it already becoming obsolete?