Sikorsky uses high-tech manufacturing for Raider X

Sikorsky’s competitive FARA prototype, RAIDER X, is seen at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida in March 2022.


Sikorsky RAIDER X competitive prototype for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) is over 85% complete, advancing 50% faster in production and assembly compared to existing programs .

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has made significant progress on RAIDER X, which is now a weight on wheels at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. RAIDER X, which Sikorsky has begun to power up, has completed nearly 50% of the required system acceptance test procedures.

Sikorsky X2 technology underpins the RAIDER X design. X2 compound coaxial technology provides more potential and room to grow for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This allows for a wider range of aircraft configurations for specific mission requirements.

“Our transformational RAIDER X will bring many benefits to the military, including the lowest schedule risk and greater technical maturity of FARA’s competitors,” said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. “With X2 technology, RAIDER X has the ability to grow, unlike a single main rotor configuration.”

Additionally, construction of Sikorsky’s second FARA fuselage is now complete. This fuselage is part of Sikorsky’s structural test program and will be used to validate the airframe’s in-flight and ground load capacity. These tests support the RAIDER X CP flight safety program and provide data to optimize and accelerate the design of the complete weapon system.

“We took an innovative approach with our second CP fuselage,” said Pete Germanowski, Sikorsky FARA Chief Engineer. “The second fuselage has not only increased the efficiency of building and testing our first CP aircraft, it gives us the ability to build it as a second CP aircraft, giving us more flexibility and greater risk reduction. “

RAIDER X includes avionics and mission systems based on Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) providing “plug-and-play” options for computing, sensors, survivability and weapons. Compound X2 coaxial technology offers more potential and room for growth for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This allows for a wider range of aircraft configurations for specific mission requirements.

“The FARA mission requires operational flexibility, and RAIDER X provides that operational flexibility the military needs, including speed where it counts, a large, multifunctional weapons bay, and unprecedented acceleration and deceleration capability. “said Jay Macklin, director of business development for Sikorsky.

Sikorsky’s risk reduction tools

  • Established high-tech manufacturing facilities: Lockheed Martin is backed by an established low-risk manufacturing capability, complemented by an investment of more than $600 million in digital yarn and advanced manufacturing. This digital environment is integrated across the company’s engineering, manufacturing and sustainment workforce. With proven global supply chain partners, RAIDER X will leverage processes manufacturing capabilities currently in use today on the Black Hawk, Combat Rescue Helicopter and CH-53K.
  • Digital yarn and virtual models: RAIDER X makes full use of Sikorsky’s digital wire and virtual prototyping tools to maximize the capabilities that RAIDER X offers soldiers while maximizing the affordability and durability of the aircraft throughout its lifecycle. These virtual models are highly reliable, physics-based simulations of our design that enable early discovery, minimize redesign, and allow future upgrades to be efficient and affordable. Implementing these advanced processes has reduced aircraft component lead time by more than 50%. Lockheed Martin began manufacturing components for RAIDER X on production tools while still in the design phase. Then, less than a year later, completed hardware components were available for customer review, including full aircraft assembly simulations for all components.
  • Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER: One of the major risk reduction efforts involves the S-97 RAIDER® flight test data, fully funded by Sikorsky. The S-97 RAIDER is an 80% prototype of the RAIDER X design, and the flight test program informs design decisions, correlates with a virtual prototype, and allows Sikorsky to experience the unique capabilities provided by X2 technology.

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