WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. company Sikorsky Aircraft plans to design and build two prototype light tactical helicopters as the follow-on to its X2 Technology demonstrator aircraft.
The X2 unofficially broke the helicopter speed record in September with a flight speed of 287 mph.
The company said development of the next-generation rotary wing technology will enable Sikorsky and select suppliers to offer the high-speed X2 prototype vehicles for flight test and evaluation by the U.S. armed forces.
"Having proved the X2 Technology design to ourselves, we have full confidence we can now mature the technology for the U.S. Army's light armed reconnaissance helicopter size," said Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino. "Self-funding the design of a brand new light tactical helicopter -- the Sikorsky S-97 -- and manufacturing two prototypes we have designated as the Raider X2 helicopter will help military aviation evaluate the viability of a fast and maneuverable next generation rotorcraft for a variety of combat missions."
Sikorsky in March submitted an X2 aircraft design to the Army's Armed Aerial Scout program in response to a request for information. The AAS program is conducting an analysis of alternatives for the Army's next armed reconnaissance helicopter.
Sikorsky said that like the X2 Technology demonstrator, the X2 Raider prototypes will feature twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller.