Tag Archives: Sikorsky

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.



New Sikorsky S-97 Raider similar to the mysterious Stealth “Osama Bin Laden raid” helicopter?

This week, Sikorsky is expected to start the assembly of the S-97 Raider helicopter prototype, Defense News reports.

The helicopter, among the choppers pitched for the U.S. Army’s Armed Aerial Scout program, to replace the Army’s aging fleet of OH-58 Kiowa Warriors, in use since the late 1960s, features a futuristic shape (compared to that of current helos) and is based on Sikorsky’s X-2 technology.

The S-97 will be a high-speed helicopter with coaxial main rotors and pusher propeller with a capability to either accomodate six troops or sensor in addition to the two pilots in the typical side-by-side cockpit.

The image of the first fuselage, released by Sikorsky, brings to light some interesting details about the Raider and a loose similarity with the MH-X Stealth Black Hawk helicopter exposed by the Osama Bin Laden raid.

Not only the Raider’s nose section is compatible with the concept I developed with AviationGraphic’s Ugo Crisponi in 2011 but the new chopper features a retractable landing gear is a feature that we thought was among the things that could keep the MH-X stealth and silent.

Most probably the MH-X (whose shape remains unknown) is different from the S-97, however it is safe to believe tha Sikorsky has embedded some of the features developed for the secret, radar evading U.S. Army Stealth Black Hawk used by the Navy SEALs at Abbottabad in May 2011, in the new chopper pitched to the Army.

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Poland preparing to buy new helicopters for the Army

The Armament Inspectorate of Poland has relased the news that negotiations regarding the technical side of the helicopter contract under which 70 helicopters will be procured by the Polish Armed Forces have started.

The companies that entered the bid are  Sikorsky International Operations Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft Corporations and PZL business alliance, Eurocopter SAS and Heli Invest Services alliance and finally PZL-Świdnik whose major shareholder is Agusta Westland.

After the technical requirements are finalized the companies will be invited to create the offers.

The Sikorsky offer its S-70i Black Hawk, already being manufactured in Mielec, Poland. The S-70i has modern rotor blades, modernized avionics, new engines – T700-GE-701D.

Finally the Black Hawk produced in Mielec is to feature an integrated system that will inform the crew about the damage the chopper suffered.

Image Credit: altair.com.pl

The Eurocopter offers the EC.725 helicopter, which will be produced in Łódź. Eurocopter is still a bit late when it comes to starting the production process, nonetheless it has signed a contract with the WZL no. 1 (Military Aviation Facility no. 1), that allowed EADS to catch up with the competition.

Image Credit: altair.com.pl

Agusta-Westland offers the AW149 medium-lift helicopter. Although it is not combat proven the AW149 is the one featuring the most modern design among those pitched to the Polish military.

The value of the contract is around EUR 2 – 2,5 billion. The main subject of the agreement is a “supply of 70 pieces of combat support and logistic support helicopters in four specialized versions, that will be acquired on the base of a common platform and logistics bundle together with an integrated training system and training packet.”

The tricky part is to cover all the requirements for several different missions with only one model. The tasks that the new chopper will have to fulfil are quite varied.

48 choppers are to be delivered in a cargo variant. The Air Force is to get 10 Combat SAR birds, while the Navy is to receive 6 SAR choppers and 6 ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) ones.

Jacek Siminski for The Aviationist

Opening image Credit: mmlublin.pl

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