Companies proposing either tiltrotor or compound helicopter designs have won contracts from the U.S. Army for its joint multi-role technology demonstration (JMR TD) Phase 1 program to develop a next-generation vertical-lift aircraft.
Eurocopter announced today that its X3 compound helicopter demonstrator flew at 255 knots in level flight on Friday near Istres in southeast France. Also part of the unofficial speed record was a descent at 263 knots. These speeds are just a few knots higher than those the Sikorsky X2 semi-compound demonstrator attained in 2010.
During its U.S. demonstration tour, the Eurocopter X3compound helicopter flew at no more than a company-imposed 220 knots, but as soon as it is back in Europe this fall it will fly “significantly faster,” CEO Lutz Bertling hinted during a press briefing in July. Eurocopter expects the X3will eventually break the 250-knot unofficial record the Sikorsky X2 set two years ago.
Sikorsky Aircraft has named 35 suppliers participating in an industry-funded effort to build two prototype S-97 Raider helicopters for evaluation by the U.S. military.The Raider is a follow-on to the company’sX2 technology demonstratorwith coaxial contra-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller.
Sikorsky said it will invest about 75 percent of the Raider program’s expected cost, with suppliers investing 25 percent. Last June, Sikorsky and General Electric signed an agreement under which GE Aviation will provide its CT7-8 engine for the Raider.
Sikorsky has selected GE Aviation (Booth No. 1217) to provide the GE YT706-GE-700R engines and engineering support for Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider program. The Raider is the military version of the experimental X2, a single-engine rotorcraft with coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller. The Fadec-controlled GE engine offers 2,500 to 3,000 shp and is based on the GE700/CT7 family. GE said it developed the GE3000 for medium-lift applications and this engine could be incorporated into the Raider in the future.
Sikorsky Aircraft named 35 suppliers participating in an industry-funded effort to build two prototype S-97 Raider helicopters for evaluation by the U.S. military. The Raider is a follow-on to the company’s X2 technology demonstrator with coaxial contra-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller.
Kevin Bredenbeck, the pilot who flew Sikorsky’s X2 technology demonstrator last year to an unofficial speed record for conventional helicopters (reportedly 260 knots), has been recognized by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots with the Iven C. Kincheloe Award for the year’s outstanding professional accomplishment in flight testing.
Sikorsky’s X2 technology demonstrator, a high-speed semi-compound helicopter, flew for the last time on July 14 at the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla. test center, in front of a number of the manufacturer’s military and commercial customers. The sortie took place without the central hub fairing (also known as an “aero sail”), which will not be tested in flight.
Sikorsky flew its X2 technology demonstrator for the last time at its West Palm Beach, Fla. test center last week in front of some of the company’s military and commercial customers. Contrary to previously announced plans, the semi-compound helicopter, which features two contra-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller, flew without its central hub fairing.
They both deny it, but helicopter manufacturers Sikorsky and Eurocopter have clearly reignited the speed race between their respective semi-compound X2 and compound X3 demonstrators. The X2 will fly again this summer, this time with its full rotor hub fairing. Sikorsky officials last week said that the test will be oriented primarily toward understanding how the “aero sail” behaves in certain conditions.
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