Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) has selected Meggitt Polymer & Composites and Meggitt Safety Systems for the newly-formed team building a next-generation helicopterâ€”known as the S-97 Raiderâ„¢â€”for evaluation by the US military. Meggittâ€™s failsafe technology will prevent aircraft fuel systems from rupturing from the impact of crashes or bullets, while its fire protection systems will deliver fully integrated detection and suppression.
Meggitt is among 35 companies announced as preferred suppliers by Sikorsky on January 12, during the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Aviation symposium at National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington DC.
â€œWe are highly optimistic about partnering with Sikorsky on the S-97 Raiderâ„¢ platform as it positions Meggitt squarely in the future of vertical lift technology,â€ said John Skubina, Deputy President, Sr VP, Strategy Sales & Marketing, Meggitt Polymers & Composites.
Sikorsky and its team suppliers are funding the design and manufacture of two S-97 Raider prototype aircraft for flight evaluation by the US military in 2014. The programme is currently in the advanced design stage.
The Raider aircraft program follows Sikorskyâ€™s successful X2 Technologyâ„¢ demonstrator aircraft, which in September 2010 achieved more than 250 knots flight speed, or twice the average cruise speed of a conventional helicopter. The National Aeronautic Association awarded Sikorsky the 2010 Robert J Collier Trophy for the achievement and for its potential as a future rotorcraft technology.
As an X2 rotorcraft design, the S-97 Raider helicopter will feature coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller to provide dramatic improvements in manoeuverability, hover efficiency, high and hot climate performance and speed.
The Raider program has two principal objectives; to mature the X2 design with additional airframe and flight characteristics; and to offer the aircraft as a replacement candidate for the US Armyâ€™s Armed Aerial Scout helicopter competition.
Defined as a light tactical helicopter, the single-engine Raider aircraft will weigh in at 11,000 lbs maximum gross weight.
The X2â„¢ design is scalable, opening up a variety of potential mission uses including combat search and rescue, armed aerial scout, medical evacuation, attack, special operations, VIP and offshore oil transport.
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