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Competitive Sikorsky Raider X® prototype for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) is over 85% complete, progressing 50% faster in production and assembly compared to programs existing.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has made significant progress on the Raider X, which is now a weight on wheels at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The aircraft, which Sikorsky has begun to power up, has completed nearly 50% of the required system acceptance test procedures.
Sikorsky X2™ technology underpins the Raider X design. X2 compound coaxial technology offers unparalleled potential and room for growth for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This allows for a wider range of aircraft configurations for specific mission requirements.
Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo said, “With X2 technology, the Raider X has the ability to grow, unlike a single main rotor configuration.”
Additionally, construction of Sikorsky’s second FARA fuselage is now complete. This fuselage is part of Sikorsky’s structural test program and will be used to validate the airframe’s in-flight and ground load capacity.
“We took an innovative approach with our second fuselage prototype,” said Pete Germanowski, Chief Engineer of Sikorsky FARA. “The second fuselage has not only increased the efficiency of building and testing our first aircraft, it gives us the ability to build it like a second aircraft, giving us more flexibility and greater risk reduction. “
Raider X features modular open system architecture (MOSA)-based avionics and mission systems providing “plug-and-play” options for computing, sensors, survivability and weapons . X2 compound coaxial technology offers unparalleled growth potential and room for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This allows for a wider range of aircraft configurations for specific mission requirements.
Sikorsky’s risk reduction tools
• Established high-tech manufacturing facilities: Lockheed Martin leverages an established, low-risk manufacturing capability augmented by an investment of over $600 million in digital yarn and advanced manufacturing. This digital environment is integrated with all of the company’s engineering, manufacturing and maintenance personnel.
With proven supply chain partners around the world, Raider X will leverage the advanced manufacturing processes currently used today on the Black Hawk, Combat Rescue Helicopter and CH-53K.
• Digital Wire and Virtual Models: Raider X fully utilizes Sikorsky’s digital wire and virtual prototyping tools to maximize capabilities while maximizing affordability and durability throughout the life cycle of the aircraft. Virtual models are highly reliable, physics-based design simulations that enable early discovery, minimize redesign, and allow future upgrades to be efficient and affordable.
Implementing these advanced processes has reduced aircraft component lead time by more than 50%. Lockheed Martin began manufacturing components for Raider X on production tools while still in the design phase. Then, less than a year later, completed hardware components were available for customer review, including full aircraft assembly simulations for all components.
• Sikorsky S-97 Raider: One of the major risk reduction efforts involves the S-97 Raider® flight test data, fully funded by Sikorsky. The S-97 Raider is an 80% prototype of the Raider X design, and the flight test program informs design decisions, correlates with a virtual prototype, and allows Sikorsky to experience the unique capabilities provided by X2 technology.