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A Glimpse into the Future: The Aerial Juggernaut Poised to Dominate Military Aviation!

The events provided a glimpse into 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, solely financed by Sikorsky, is the only FARA aircraft currently in flight and offers risk reduction for Sikorsky’s FARA concept, RAIDER X®, a swift, agile, and resilient compound coaxial helicopter designed to enable future aviators to confront evolving peer and near-peer threats in the most challenging 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 applied today in Sikorsky’s advanced digital manufacturing facility.

This proven, comprehensive life-cycle approach operates seamlessly throughout the design, development, production, supply chain, and sustainment process. Currently, all of Sikorsky’s programs are developed within a digital environment.

The potency of this digital thread promotes affordability, producibility, and reliability across the aircraft’s life cycle. In addition to the FARA competition, Sikorsky and Boeing are presenting 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 that provide the mission advantage they seek.

Both FARA and FLRAA are among the Army’s highest modernization priorities, designed 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 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 about 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 complete cockpit with a wrap-around dome for out-the-window visuals, which can be updated as the system advances. 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 trade shows and special events across the U.S. since 2018. Moreover, Sikorsky and Boeing have developed a DEFIANT X simulator, permanently located at the Sikorsky Huntsville facility.

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