S-97 Raider: The Futuristic Helicopter Of The U.S. Army


Military technology is as quickly changing as any other kind of tech. For that reason, a nation’s armed forces must ensure they keep pace with their contemporaries. In a bid to do the same, the U.S. Army is looking to move on from its Cold War-era helicopters to a new breed of choppers such as the Sikorsky S-97 Raider.

Adapting in time to military advancements can prove a world of difference for any nation. From deterring potential rivals to opening up many business opportunities with friendly nations, there are certain benefits that come with upgrading a nation’s defense. The S-97 Raider holds a similar promise for the U.S. at this point.

Sikorsky’s next-generation helicopter, currently under development, would offer scouting and attacking options. Not just that, it would also allow the U.S. Army to travel the skies at a reasonably high speed. Here’s a video showing some footage of America’s next big military aircraft.

Origin and history

Coming from Sikorsky Aircraft (owned by Lockheed Martin), the S-97 Raider is a culmination of its notable achievements in the past. In other words, the helicopter shows how far the firm has come since building its first fast compound helicopter with coaxial rotors, the S-69. The company’s forthcoming chopper takes everything its predecessors achieved and improves upon them.

In late 2010, the American firm proposed the S-97 as a possible replacement for the Bell Kiowa Warrior. Over the next decade, the project tested the helicopter’s prototype. Not long ago, in early 2021, the S-97 Raider performed a couple of flight demonstrations for the first time. Moreover, its flight tests are expected to continue into 2023, and the manufacturing of the final product should start around 2024.

s-97 raider prototype in hangar
S-97 Raider X prototype under construction (Image: lockheedmartin.com)

S-97 Raider features

The S-97 Raider is a lightweight and high-speed scout attack compound helicopter. For those confused by the technical mumbo-jumbo, that means the helicopter can survey enemy territory or carry out an offensive. It can do all this while moving swiftly in the air. Moreover, it can carry six personnel on board.

Talking about its aerial prowess, the helicopter can travel at a max speed of 220kts (407.4kmph) at a max height of 10,000ft. It comes with fly-by-wire flight controls and is comparatively quieter, making it less easy to detect. Moreover, it offers a range of 600km and can stay in the air for over 2.5hrs. Moving on to attacking features, the chopper can equip .50 cal and 7.62mm guns, and 2.75” rockets and hellfire missiles.

Once it joins service in the near future, it’ll definitely be a big boost for the American army. By the way, do you think the western nation would hold on to the status of the world’s biggest military force this decade? Sound off in the comments. Also, check out more about the Lockheed Martin F-35, another one of the U.S.’s prized possessions.

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