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Sikorsky Raider X 98% complete pending October engine delivery

Sikorsky's Raider X prototype at the company's West Palm Beach, Florida factory, in September 2023. (Lockheed Martin Corporation – Sikorsky)

Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky's Raider X, the company's submission for the US Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) programme, is 98% complete, Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo said during a 3 October media roundtable. The compound helicopter lacks only its engine, the General Electric (GE) T901 Improved Engine Turbine Program (ITEP), which Lemmo expects to arrive later in October.

β€œWe're in frequent communication with both GE and obviously the army FARA programme office; those dialogues are going on continuously and all signs are pointing from the army and GE that we should receive the engine here in October,” Lemmo said.

β€œAs soon as we receive [the engine] we will be able to immediately start the installation process in advance of ground testing and eventually flight-testing,” he said.

In anticipation of the first Raider X flight, Sikorsky has been expanding the flight envelope of the S-97 technology demonstrator, Lemmo said. The demonstrator has now flown more than 136 hours, with the latest tests focused on expanding the flight envelope at high speeds. β€œThese critical test flights do enable us to design a lighter-weight [Raider X] aircraft, giving us more confidence in our design tools, ultimately reducing [the] risk for the army,” Lemmo said.

Sikorsky built the fuselage of a second Raider X to serve as a fatigue test subject. Although the testing has been completed and the fuselage placed in storage, it could be used to build a second Raider X if the company deems it necessary.

Sikorsky intends to fly Raider X before the fourth quarter of 2024, Lemmo said.

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