I’ve had an affection for this technology since the Advancing Blade Concept in the 1980s.
It’s simpler than a tilt rotor and does things like autorotation and a lower disk loading, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it flies:
Sikorsky will begin final assembly of its S-97 Raider helicopter prototype this week, according to company officials.
That puts the helicopter manufacturer — which is competing for the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout program — on track for a first flight at the end of 2014.
“It’s just a really exciting foundational milestone for us, and it’s great to be leaving the design phase of Raider and getting into the build phase,” Chris Van Buiten, Sikorsky Innovations vice president, said.
The Raider is based on the X-2 technology developed by Sikorsky in the late 2000s, but grows the size and weight significantly. Where the X-2 demonstrator was a one-person, 5,000-pound platform, the Raider will be roughly 11,000 pounds with room for six troops in its combat assault mode. In reconnaissance mode, that space could be used for extra equipment or ammunition.
Despite that growth, Sikorsky executives are confident the design will bring a mix of speed and maneuverability that helicopters have not yet achieved.
“This thing has to fly faster than 220 knots” at cruising speed, Van Buiten said when asked about key performance targets. “It has got to do more than a 3G turn at speed. It has to demonstrate hover at 10,000 feet and 95 degrees. Those are the non-negotiables.”
Hopefully, this will work better than the over priced and under performing bucked of bolts called the V-22 Osprey.