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Soaring into the Future: Meet the Game-Changing Flying Colossus of Military Aviation!

The events provided a glimpse into Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company’s bid for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, part of the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative to revolutionize its aircraft fleet. Sikorsky is a Lockheed Martin Company.

The S-97 RAIDER, exclusively financed by Sikorsky, is the sole FARA aircraft currently in flight and offers risk mitigation for Sikorsky’s FARA concept, RAIDER X®, a swift, agile, and durable compound coaxial helicopter that will enable future aviators to tackle evolving peer and near-peer challenges in the most demanding environments.

RAIDER X will fully incorporate Lockheed Martin’s strengths, such as digital thread, advanced manufacturing, sustainment, training, and weapon and mission system development, production, and integration. At Sikorsky, the digital thread is integrated into current programs and is being employed in Sikorsky’s digital advanced manufacturing facility.

This demonstrated, comprehensive life-cycle approach operates smoothly throughout the design, development, production, supply chain, and sustainment process. Currently, all Sikorsky programs are conceived in a digital environment.

The potency of this digital thread enhances affordability, manufacturability, and dependability across the aircraft’s life cycle. In addition to the FARA competition, Sikorsky and Boeing are proposing the DEFIANT X™ for the Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) contest. With RAIDER X and DEFIANT X, the Army could acquire a common, scalable aircraft with the mission advantage the Army seeks.

Both FARA and FLRAA are among the Army’s top modernization priorities, intended to address near-peer challenges in the multi-domain operations (MDO) of 2030 and beyond.

On April 13 and 15 at Redstone, Sikorsky’s Christiaan Corry and Bill Fell piloted the S-97 RAIDER flight routines that showcased both low-level helicopter maneuverability and the high-speed capability exclusive to Sikorsky’s X2 Technology family of helicopters. Corry had previously flown with the first Army experimental test pilot in the S-97 RAIDER, with more events to follow.

Sikorsky has been flying and testing X2 Technology for over a decade, accumulating nearly 500 hours on its X2 Technology test beds and aircraft, including the X2 Technology Demonstrator, RAIDER, and DEFIANT. Sikorsky’s facility in Cummings Research Park in Huntsville houses approximately 100 employees dedicated to supporting Future Vertical Lift, U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters, and other military aviation programs. Also located in Huntsville is Sikorsky’s RAIDER X Portable Full-Mission Simulator (PFMS). The simulator comprises a full cockpit with a wrap-around dome for out-of-window visuals, which can be updated as the system advances. In addition to basic flight, the cockpit simulates sensors, weapons, and various tactical environments.

The high-fidelity simulator has welcomed Army aviators, soldiers, and leaders at trade shows and special events throughout the U.S. since 2018. Moreover, Sikorsky and Boeing have developed a DEFIANT X simulator, permanently situated at the Sikorsky Huntsville facility.

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