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

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.

While Sikorsky waits to integrate the engine, load testing will be performed on a second airframe in July. The company is also continuing to collect test data with its Raider S-97, a developmental aircraft that is about 80% the size of the Raider X.

The tests come as the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) test phase of the FARA programme is delayed until the third quarter of 2023.

Germanowski said the delay has some benefit to the overall testing schedule.

“From an engineering perspective, the real benefit of that delay is it better outlines PDR [preliminary design review] with the CP [competitive prototype] flight test,” he said. “Right at the time we'll get to PDR we'll be a large percentage of the way through the CP flight test programme as well.”

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