The Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER™ helicopter made its successful first flight May 22, thanks in part to technology from Honeywell Aerospace. Honeywell provides six systems for the S-97, a rigid coaxial rotor prototype offering new levels of maneuverability, hover-ability, range, speed, endurance and survivability.
The first flight was conducted at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., where the two-prototype RAIDER helicopter test program is based. The first test flight lasted about an hour, during which test pilots took the aircraft through a series of maneuvers designed to test its hover and low-speed capability.
"Today's first flight of the S-97 RAIDER represents the latest leap forward for Sikorsky, our customers and the rotorcraft industry," said Sikorsky President Bob Leduc in a company press release.
"The industry has demanded high performance and high value from the products that execute critical missions, and, today, the RAIDER helicopter has given us an exciting look at the future of vertical flight."
With first flight achieved, the RAIDER helicopter now moves into more progressive flight testing to demonstrate key performance parameters critical to future combat operations including armed reconnaissance, light assault, light attack and special operations.
“Honeywell is proud to be on the Sikorsky team, developing a platform that meets the U.S. Army’s special operations and armed reconnaissance needs,” said Tom Neumann, Honeywell Business Program Manager for Sikorsky programs. “Our extensive experience in both mechanical and avionics technologies for helicopters is being applied to improve the capabilities and reliability of this remarkable rotorcraft.”
Honeywell products for the S-97 RAIDER include the Auxiliary Power Unity (APU), Engine Starter, Radar Altimeter, Generator, and Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS). Sikorsky launched the S-97 RAIDER helicopter program in September 2010. The program is 100 percent industry-funded by Sikorsky Aircraft and its 53 industry partners, including Honeywell.
The helicopter is capable of being developed into a unique multi-mission configuration that is able to carry six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller are expected to provide cruise speeds up to 240 knots (276 mph).