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An advanced helicopter has demonstrated its capabilities for the US Army. The S-97 Raider advanced prototype helicopter performed two flights, carrying out low-level maneuvers and high-speed runs.
The aircraft is Sikorsky’s candidate for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program under the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative. It is a compound helicopter based on the company’s X2 technology demonstrator. It uses variable speed rigid coaxial main rotors that can tilt independently of one another and a variable-pitch pusher propeller for improved horizontal speed, hovering, and low-speed maneuverability. It also uses a fly-by-wire system and dynamic anti-vibration actuators to reduce shaking.
The Raider can carry a crew of two in a side-by-side configuration, along with up to six passengers. Powered by the same General Electric YT706 turboshaft engine used in the MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter, it can put out 2,600 bhp (1,900 kW), giving it a cruising speed of 250 mph (410 km/h, 220 knots) and a range of 350 miles (570 km) with external weapons load. The standard armament will be a .50 caliber machine gun and seven-round rocket pods.
The Raider is also designed to provide commanders with a flow of maintenance data and self-diagnosis that, working with the company’s Fleet Decision Tool, allows the helicopter to provide solid information as to how many of the aircraft will be available for missions at any one time, as reported by newatlas.com.