WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., June 17 (UPI) -- Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has successfully installed the avionics system on the first of two prototype S-97 Raider tactical helicopters.
Successful installation was verified when the company turned on the system's electrical power for the first time, showing cockpit multi-function displays, the control display unit and CDU-controlled electronic circuit breakers were functional.
"This is a big milestone for a development program; the aircraft comes to life when power goes on," said S-97 Raider Program Manager Mark Hammond.
The S-97 is a compound helicopter with coaxial rotors. Its speed will be about 287 miles per hour and its range will be more than 800 miles. It is a fly-by-wire aircraft.
Sikorsky said it proved the efficiency of the rigid rotor co-axial design used for the Raider in 2010 when its 6,000-lb. gross weight X2 demonstrator helicopter achieved 250-knot flight speed, or twice the speed of conventional helicopters.
The Raider prototype will undergo electrical power and avionics acceptance test procedures for the next several weeks, the company said. About half of the assembly process has been completed on the Raider and it is expected to fly by the end of the year.
"This is next-generation rotorcraft taking shape, with an aggressive schedule for getting air under the tires of the first Raider helicopter before the end of the year," said Mark Miller, vice president of Research & Engineering. "We are making great progress, and in the meantime are keeping our interested customers keenly aware of the exceptional performance that this aircraft will bring.
"We are really looking forward to showing its value to the U.S. military."