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Revolution in the Skies: How This Formidable Flying Behemoth is Redefining Military Aviation!

The events provided a glimpse of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company’s proposal for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, which is 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, entirely funded by Sikorsky, is the sole representative FARA aircraft in operation today and offers risk reduction for Sikorsky’s FARA concept, RAIDER X®, a swift, nimble, resilient compound coaxial helicopter that will enable future pilots to tackle evolving peer and near-peer challenges in the most demanding environments.

RAIDER X will fully incorporate Lockheed Martin’s strengths, including digital thread, advanced manufacturing, sustainment, training, and weapon and mission system development, production, and integration. At Sikorsky, the digital thread is already embedded in existing programs and is currently employed in Sikorsky’s digital advanced manufacturing facility.

This established, comprehensive life-cycle strategy operates smoothly throughout the design, development, production, supply chain, and sustainment process. Today, all Sikorsky programs originate in a digital environment.

The potency of this digital thread fosters affordability, manufacturability, and reliability across the aircraft’s lifecycle. 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 possess common, scalable aircraft offering the mission advantage the Army seeks.

Both FARA and FLRAA are among the Army’s top modernization priorities, designed to address near-peer threats in 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, showcasing both low-level helicopter maneuverability and the high-speed capability exclusive to Sikorsky’s X2 Technology family of helicopters. Corry previously flew with the first Army experimental test pilot in the S-97 RAIDER, with more events planned.

Sikorsky has been flying and testing X2 Technology for over a decade, amassing 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 is home to 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 features a complete cockpit with a wrap-around dome for out-the-window visuals that can be updated as the system evolves. In addition to basic flying, the cockpit simulates sensors, weapons, and various tactical environments.

The high-fidelity simulator has welcomed Army aviators, soldiers, and leaders at tradeshows and special events throughout the U.S. since 2018. Additionally, Sikorsky and Boeing have developed a DEFIANT X simulator, which is permanently housed at the Sikorsky Huntsville facility.

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