American aerospace firm Sikorsky’s RAIDER X helicopter prototype has completed early tests and is now 92 percent complete.
The helicopter is the company’s pitch for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.
According to the Lockheed Martin subsidiary, hundreds of 3D printed components have been installed on the aircraft, including flight-critical parts.
The company has also developed and integrated innovative weapons systems into the prototype using the latest digital design and manufacturing techniques.
“These advancements will enable the Army to not only lower the acquisition cost, but also enable rapid, affordable upgrades to stay ahead of the evolving threat,” Sikorsky official Jay Macklin said.
Sikorsky has started work on a second RAIDER X prototype to validate the airframe’s flight and ground loads capability.
RAIDER X Helicopter
Based on Lockheed Martin’s X2 technology, the RAIDER X helicopter prototype reportedly provides an unmatched potential for increased speed, combat radius, and payload.
It also features a modular open systems architecture, enabling a broader range of aircraft configurations for specific mission requirements.
“The FARA program is important for Army modernization because it provides the speed, maneuverability, reach, and the lethality needed on a 21st Century battlefield,” FARA Chief Engineer Pete Germanowski explained.
“RAIDER X is also designed for growth. The modular open systems approach and digital backbone coupled with the mission system and sensors and communications capability give the Army a node to tie their battlefield network together and enhance the capabilities of the ground force in the process.”
Sikorsky’s RAIDER X helicopter will go up against Bell’s Invictus prototype, a tandem-cockpit chopper with a single main rotor and open tail rotor.