The Lockheed Martin subsidiary’s S-97 RAIDER aircraft have taken flight at a US Army base in support of its bid for the FARA program.
Two Sikorsky Technology-built S-97 RAIDER aircraft have taken flight before US Army officials and personnel at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
The demonstration was aimed at supporting the firm’s bid for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, which forms part of the US Army's Future Vertical Lift (FVL) project.
The S-97 RAIDER aircraft serves as a prototype for its FARA concept, RAIDER X, which is expected to enable aviators to address evolving peer and near-peer threats.
"Since the first Black Hawk took to the skies in the 1970s, to when our teams broke helicopter speed records with X2 Technology in 2010, we have been working with our Army partners to develop and deliver low-risk, transformational, affordable and sustainable aircraft to support the warfighters' missions," Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo said.
"This is the first of what we believe will be many times our X2 Future Vertical Lift aircraft will fly at Redstone."
Sikorsky aims to incorporate digital thread, advanced manufacturing, sustainment, training, and weapon and mission system development, manufacture and integration in its RAIDER X.
The Lockheed subsidiary is also submitting a joint bid alongside Boeing to deliver the DEFIANT X for the Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition.
Both programs form part of the Army's top modernisation priorities, which aim to address near-peer threats in the multi-domain operations (MDO) of 2030 and beyond.
"Through this week's RAIDER flight and our ongoing test program with DEFIANT, we are demonstrating the future of Army Aviation," Kevin Mangum, Lockheed Martin vice president, Army programs, said.
"With RAIDER X, we will fill a critical Army capability gap, providing the speed, reach, lethality and convergence to fight and win on the MDO battlefield, today and into the future. DEFIANT X will be the world's best assault aircraft – like our great Black Hawk – for decades to come.
“Our X2-designed aircraft provide commonality – in parts, systems, maintenance and training. And, DEFIANT X has the same operational footprint as the Black Hawk, reducing the Army's total cost of ownership by eliminating any modifications to existing facilities."