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Sikorsky to build two X2 technology prototypes


X2 Technology(TM) Light Tactical Helicopter. A Sikorsky photo

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA (BNS): Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp, will build two prototype Light Tactical Helicopters.

The prototype is a follow-on advancement to the X2 Technology demonstrator aircraft that unofficially shattered the helicopter world speed record with a flight speed of 250 knots (287 mph) in September.

“Having proved the X2 Technology design to ourselves, we have full confidence we can now mature the technology for the US Army’s light armed reconnaissance helicopter size,” said Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino.

“Self funding the design of a brand new light tactical helicopter – the Sikorsky S-97 – and manufacturing two prototypes we have designated as the Raider X2 helicopter will help military aviation evaluate the viability of a fast and maneuverable next generation rotorcraft for a variety of combat missions.”

Like the X2 Technology demonstrator that broke the helicopter speed, the X2 Raider prototypes will feature twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors (in place of one main rotor and a tail rotor) and a pusher propeller, Sikorsky said in a statement.

For the armed reconnaissance mission, the X2 Raider helicopter will have space aft of the two-pilot cockpit for armament and auxiliary fuel. In an assault configuration, the cabin affords space to accommodate up to six troops.

In addition to flying at nearly twice the speed of a conventional helicopter, the X2 Raider prototype aircraft will incorporate other key performance parameters critical to combat operations — increased maneuverability, greater endurance, and the ability to operate at high altitudes.

The X2 Raider prototypes are expected to significantly reduce turning radius and acoustic noise signature, while significantly increasing the aircraft’s payload, flight endurance and hot and high hover capability.

Sikorsky will conduct its X2 Raider aircraft development program utilizing military standards. The company expects to conduct its first major program milestone — a preliminary design review — in 2011.

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