Sikorsky has started engine ground runs on its new the S-97 Raider military assault helicopter. It marks the first time the S-97 runs its engine with the counter-rotating rotor blades attached. A video of the milestone was released on 4 February.
The Raider also features pusher propeller at the back, and is supposed to be ideal for armed aerial scout or light assault. Sikorsky will offer the S-97 as a replacement for the US Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter fleet and as a special operations platform.
The single-engine Raider features a composite airframe and a maximum gross weight of slightly more than 11,000 lbs. The aircraft will be capable of carrying an array of weapons and sensors, necessary for the mission. The cockpit will fit two pilots, seated side-by-side. The flexible cabin space will carry up to six combat-equipped troops, or additional fuel and ammunition for extended missions.
Sikorsky is using the first of two prototypes for initial ground tests with the aircraft tied down. The tests focus on verifying correct operation of the propulsion system, drive train, rotor control system and pilot-vehicle interface.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Sikorsky Aircraft unveiled the S-97 Raider helicopter on 2 October 2014 in Florida (Image © Sikorsky)