Sikorsky starts S-97 Raider final assembly
Caitlin Lee, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
26 September 2013
Sikorsky is starting final assembly of its S-97 Raider prototype helicopter, clearing the way for the company's plans to conduct the first flight in 2014.
The company is planning to offer the Raider, a fly-by-wire compound helicopter with a co-axial design, for the US Army's Armed Aerial Scout Competition (AAS), which is expected to pit the Raider against the Boeing AH-6 Little Bird, MDHI MD 540F, EADS AAS-72X+, Bell OH-58F Block II, AgustaWestland AW109, and AVX compound helicopter adaptation of the OH-58D. The purpose of the competition is to find an aircraft that can replace the army's ageing Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, although army officials have said the competition could be in jeopardy if sharp budget cuts continue throughout the US Department of Defense (DoD).
Nevertheless, Sikorsky is moving ahead with Raider, which offers a variety of technologies drawn from the company's X2 technology demonstrator.
The Raider's composite fuselage arrived on 20 September at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach in Florida, according to Sikorsky officials. It was developed by Aurora Flight Sciences, one of 36 industry partners on the Sikorsky-led Raider programme. The fuselage consists of an integrated cockpit, cabin, and tail cone.
The Raider prototype features counter-rotating main rotor blades for lift and forward flight, and a pusher propeller for high-speed acceleration and deceleration.
Sikorsky first tested the co-axial design in 2010 on the X2 demonstrator, at which time the helicopter demonstrated a 250 kt flight speed, which is about twice that of conventional helicopters. The X2 also provided an opportunity to develop low acoustic signature technology, according to Sikorsky.
The company said its Raider prototype will improve on the X2, demonstrating a capacity to conduct precision manoeuvres at low speed, as well as high-G turning manoeuvres at more than 200 kt and engage in hot-day hover performance at altitudes of up to 10,000 ft.
Sikorsky is also using its X2 demonstrator as a basis from which to develop a high-speed rigid rotor co-axial design for the US Army's Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) programme.
The JMR TD programme is the precursor to the DoD's estimated USD100 billion Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme, which is meant to replace the army's UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter fleet and AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet.
bold : bisa kah dua fungsi helikopter ini dijadikan 1 wahana?