Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today announced it has turned on electrical power for the first time to the S-97 RAIDER™ prototype helicopter, signaling successful installation of the avionics system and a major step toward completing the assembly of the new – and first – light tactical rotorcraft featuring X2 Technology™. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The key milestone on the first of two aircraft planned to be built in the RAIDER program took place May 28, 2014, at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center where the aircraft is being assembled. The successful powering on means that the cockpit multifunction displays and control display unit (CDU) are operational, as are the CDU controlled electronic circuit breakers. The aircraft will undergo electrical power and avionics Acceptance Test Procedures (ATPs) for the next several weeks, to complete the checkout of the remaining avionics, electrical, and flight control systems.
“This is a big milestone for a development program; the aircraft comes to life when power goes on,” said S-97 RAIDER Program Manager Mark Hammond. He also noted that several RAIDER suppliers played a critical role in achieving the “power on” milestone, including the Sikorsky Avionics Product Center, Esterline-Korry, Esterline-Mason, United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS), Lockheed Martin, Garmin, Avionics Instruments, BAE, Honeywell, Pacific Scientific, Northrup Grumman, Meggitt, and LMS.
The aircraft is about halfway through the assembly process, with several key components in production and scheduled to be installed in the next few months.
“This is next-generation rotorcraft taking shape, with an aggressive schedule for getting air under the tires of the first RAIDER helicopter before the end of the year,” said Mark Miller, vice president of Research & Engineering. “We are making great progress, and in the meantime are keeping our interested customers keenly aware of the exceptional performance that this aircraft will bring. We are really looking forward to showing its value to the U.S. military.”
The RAIDER is targeted to fly by the end of 2014. Sikorsky plans to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities to the U.S. military beginning in 2015.
The S-97 RAIDER helicopter is a revolutionary rotorcraft that will deliver X2 Technology in a new light tactical rotorcraft designed to outmatch conventional military helicopters in speed, maneuverability, and high altitude operations. The fly-by-wire controlled helicopter will feature counter-rotating rigid main rotor blades for lift and forward flight, and a pusher propeller for high speed acceleration and deceleration.
Sikorsky proved the efficiency of the rigid rotor co-axial design in 2010 when its 6,000-lb. gross weight X2 demonstrator helicopter achieved 250-knot flight speed, or twice the speed of conventional helicopters. It also demonstrated low pilot workload and low acoustic signature.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Connecticut, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Connecticut, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning opportunities for development, production and sale of helicopters. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices, budget plans, availability of funding and in the type and number of aircraft required; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
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