Aurora Flight Sciences has joined the Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER(TM) team that is building a next-generation light tactical helicopter for evaluation by the U.S. military. As an S-97 team member, Aurora is responsible for design engineering and fabrication for the aircraft’s airframes.
“Aurora recognizes the revolutionary leap in performance that the S-97 RAIDER helicopter will provide to the warfighter,” said John Langford, Aurora’s President and CEO. “Aurora’s investment of resources in the S-97 design and development effort reflects our belief in the future of the X2 rotorcraft design. We are proud to be a key member of Sikorsky’s S-97 RAIDER team.”
Aurora’s role on the RAIDER program will leverage the company’s demonstrated success in air vehicle design, rapid prototyping and successful transition from prototype programs into production. During 2011, Sikorsky recognized Aurora for its design and manufacturing work as “Supplier of the Year” for aerostructures and as a “Gold Supplier” for outstanding quality, delivery and customer service.
Aurora is among 35 companies nationwide announced as suppliers by Sikorsky, January 12, during the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Aviation symposium at National Harbor, Md., near Washington DC.
Sikorsky and its team suppliers are self-funding the design and manufacture of two S-97 RAIDER prototype aircraft for flight evaluation by the U.S. military. The program is currently in the advanced design stage.
The RAIDER aircraft program follows Sikorsky’s successful X2 TECHNOLOGY(TM) 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 aircraft design, the S-97 RAIDER helicopter will feature coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller to provide dramatic improvements in maneuverability, hover efficiency, high/ hot climate performance, and speed.
In addition to flying at nearly twice the speed of a conventional helicopter, the S-97 RAIDER prototype aircraft will incorporate other key performance parameters critical to combat operations — increased maneuverability, greater endurance, reduced acoustic noise signature, and the ability to operate at high altitudes.
Sikorsky expects to fly the RAIDER aircraft beginning in 2014.
About Aurora Flight Sciences
Aurora Flight Sciences designs and builds advanced aerospace vehicles and related technology components for commercial and military applications. Aurora is headquartered in Manassas, VA; operates production plants in Bridgeport, WV and Columbus, MS; and a Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA. To view recent press releases and more about Aurora please visit our website at www.aurora.aero .
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