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Sikorsky Unveils RAIDER X Prototype For US Army FARA Program

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RAIDER X is Sikorsky’s prototype for the US Army FARA program (Photo Lockheed Martin)

The RAIDER X prototype was unveiled at the annual AUSA 2023 conference.

The annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2023 conference became the venue where Sikorsky finally released photos of its entry to the U.S. Army Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) project. The FARA program is set to acquire the next generation of scout helicopters, which fills the role of the now retired OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. Sikorsky’s RAIDER X is scheduled to compete in a fly-off with the Bell 360 Invictus. With Boeing, AVX/L3 Harris, and Karem having stepped off the program, Bell and Sikorsky remains the last two contenders for the next generation of US Army scout helicopters.

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Sikorsky aims for a 2024 first flight of the RAIDER X

Currently the RAIDER X prototype is said to be 98% complete, as the aircraft awaits completion of the GE T901 Improved Engine Turbine Program (ITEP). With the new engine set to be finished later this month, the first flight is scheduled to be before the fourth quarter of 2024. At the moment the RAIDER X team is waiting for the delivery of the new T901 engine and plans on immediately starting the installation process upon arrival. After integration and a successful ground testing phase, RAIDER X should soon take to the skies within a year.

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RAIDER X can carry 8 Hellfire ATGMs internally (screenshot from Lockheed Martin YouTube video)

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RAIDER X can carry 8 Hellfire ATGMs internally (screenshot from Lockheed Martin YouTube video)

Through the extensive testing program of the S-97 and X2, the RAIDER X utilises a pusher prop along with its coaxial main rotors to provide a fast cruise speed and enhanced manoeuvrability compared to conventional rotary wing platforms. According to the company, RAIDER X will be capable of low and high-speed manoeuvres exceeding 70° bank angle. An emphasis on the US Army’s Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) was made during the development process to allow room for easy upgrades in system architecture in the future. Sikorsky has stated that it plans on delivering a leap-ahead capability and enable rapid upgrades by utilising MOSA.

About Wonwoo Choi
Wonwoo is a student journalist and contributor to The Aviationist based in London, United Kingdom. Currently studying MEng in Aeronautical Engineering with a keen interest in OSINT, plane spotting and aircraft design. He is a former Sergeant of the Republic of Korea Army, having served as an artillery Fire Direction Centre Vehicle Radio Operator.

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