Sikorsky company start final assembly layout helicopter S-97 Raider, Defense News reported on September 23, with reference to the company’s representatives.
First flight of the layout, which is involved in the program AAS (Armed Aerial Scout — lightly armed reconnaissance helicopter), U.S. Army, is scheduled in late 2014.
Design based on the development of high-speed helicopter X-2, developed by the end of the 2000s, but has increased the weight and dimensions. X-2 was designed for the 1st pilot, helicopter weight 5000 pounds (2270 kg), but has a lot of Raider 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg) and can carry up to 6 fighter in the configuration of the transport vehicle. In the reconnaissance place cabin can be used for additional equipment or weapons. Helicopter speed should exceed 220 knots (400 km / h) must maneuver on overload 3g, go to the ceiling of 10,000 feet (3,000 m) at an angle of 95 deg.
The fuselage was built by Aurora Flight Sciences (West Virginia) and delivered to the company to Sikorsky in West Palm Beach (FL) on September 20. Body made of composites, was tested at a speed of 230 knots hits birds, which successfully withstood, and showed a very low aerodynamic drag.
The program is focused on change AAS helicopter fleet OH-58 Kiowa, which are in service since the late 1960s. Favourite applets will create and maintain the helicopters far beyond the 2050s.
If the period of withdrawal on the layout tests are to be kept, the creation of S-97 from the sheet to a spotless flight tests will be only 48 months, which is significantly faster than is usually done in the defense industry.
The company expects that the price of a helicopter with a full equipment set to be less than 15 million U.S. dollars. Export potential of the helicopter «calculated hundred square meters of machines.»