Lockheed Martin S-97 Raider Light Tactical Helicopter Prototype Makes Hard Landing in West Palm Beach

An S-97 Raider light tactical helicopter hard landed at Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach.

A new S-97 Raider helicopter has made a hard landing at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in Palm Beach County earlier today.

According to WPTV, the prototype helicopter was conducting a test flight when the hard landing happened. Two people were on board and neither was injured, Lockheed Martin said.

Initially started to replace the aging OH-58 Kiowa Warrior observation helicopter under a then-$16 billion U.S. Army acquisition program named “Armed Aerial Scout” the S-97 Raider program, put on hold prior to the U.S. Presidential election due to budgetary constraints and then restarted by Sikorsky, the originator of the program, teamed with Lockheed Martin, is a next generation helicopter intended as a replacement of the U.S. Special Operations Command MH-6M Little Bird.

The Raider embeds a significant technology update over previous light attack/observation helicopters, including a mostly carbon fiber composite fuselage like the MV-22 Osprey, a unique co-axial rotor system and several additional technological advancements.



About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I worked out there for 14 years and saw my share of ‘hard landings’ as well as other ‘close calls’….’Nothing to see here folks….the riot’s over and there won’ be no hangin’ tonight….go home…The guys out there have their sh*t together, the engineers and test pilots will have the cause figgered out quickly enough and the mechs will either have the aircraft flying again soon or have it stripped for usable parts if the airframe is condemned…

  2. What’s unique about its coaxial rotor system? That’s a very narrow statement covering a very broad spectrum of existing coaxial rotor systems in use around the world for decades.

    • The ability to tilt the coaxial rotors together or tilt each one
      differently, and because of the variable pitch propulsor and active elevons and a rigid rotor system.

    • Ugh. Really? Rigid, coaxial rotors for one. The ONLY aircraft that have flown with such a coaxial setup are the XH-59/S-69, the X-2, and the Raider. So yeah, it’s unique.

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