Sikorsky Raider X prototype 90% complete, engine delivery expected in November

by Gillian Rich

The Sikorsky Raider X was 90% complete in June 2022 at the company's West Palm Beach facility. The aircraft is shown here with the turreted cannon under the nose and with the weapons bay door open, with the modular effects launcher attached. (Sikorsky)

Sikorsky said that the prototype Raider X, its submission for the US Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) programme, is 90% complete and the company has 98% of parts on hand for the build.

The company is waiting for the T901-GE-900 Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) from General Electric to arrive in November 2022.

The ITE is “the last significant piece of our helicopter that hasn't been installed”, Pete Germanowski, FARA chief engineer at Sikorsky, told reporters on 28 June.

The army announced on 23 March that it conducted the first ‘light-off' off General Electric's T901 First Engine to Test (FETT), meaning power was produced by igniting fuel in the engine.


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Details emerge on mesh hybrid networking system for EU's UGV programme

by Alexander Stronell

Three THeMIS UGVs pictured during iMUGS testing in Belgium in June 2022. (Janes/Alexander Stronell)

Details on the mesh communications system in development as part of the Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS) programme, the European Defence Fund's (EDF) project for a common unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), have been revealed to Janes.

Speaking to Janes, an industry source familiar with the iMUGS communications effort provided details on the objectives and testing of the hybrid networking system.

The iMUGS sub-project for a mesh communications system is being undertaken by Finnish telecommunications company Bittium, part of the consortium of companies led by Estonia's Milrem Robotics.

“We are developing communications, which is based on mesh technology and which allows all the vehicles, the troops … [to be] part of one big network, and all the traffic is based on IP [internet protocol traffic],” the source told Janes. “There's no predefined structure, so you can add vehicles or nodes, and you can remove [them],” he added.


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China test-flies ‘improved' carrierborne UAV

by Akhil Kadidal

With several design changes and potentially a new engine, the AR-500CJ (depicted at the top) appears to be larger than the AR-500C variant, which first flew in 2020. However, AVIC has not disclosed the dimensions of the AR-500CJ. (Janes)

China has claimed the successful test-flying of a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intended for service aboard the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's larger surface vessels. This includes aircraft carriers.

In an announcement on its official blog on 10 August, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said that its AR-500CJ unmanned helicopter had made its first flight at Poyang in Jiangxi province.

The aircraft was developed by the company's China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI). According to AVIC, the AR-500CJ is a “comprehensive improvement” over the earlier lightweight AR-500B shipborne UAV developed by the company.


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RAF continues roll-out of A400M capabilities with first operational aerial refuelling

by Gareth Jennings

The view of the A400M receiver aircraft from the Voyager mission controller console. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is continuing the process of rolling out the capabilities of the Airbus A400M C1 Atlas, announcing on 11 August the first operational aerial refuelling of the airlifter.

For the milestone, an A400M received fuel from an Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker via the centreline hose reserved for large aircraft receivers. The airlifter was refuelled 900 n miles southwest of Ascension Island, extending its 4,100 n miles range to accommodate the remaining 2,600 n miles to Mount Pleasant Airfield on the Falkland Islands.

“The execution of long-range air-to-air refuelling by front-line crews is a major milestone for Atlas. The ability of this aircraft to operate at significant range from the UK, demonstrates our enhanced and resilient force sustainment capabilities,” said Wing Commander Stuart Patton, Officer Commanding 30 Squadron.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/defence/latest/sikorsky-raider-x-prototype-90-complete-engine-delivery-expected-in-november

Sikorsky said that the prototype Raider X, its submission for the US Army's Future Attack Reconnaiss...

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