TECHIE’S TAKE: The Sikorsky S-97 Raider.

Raider 1.jpg
The Raider Helicopter Source (Sikorsky)

Sikorsky and Lockheed Martins joined their resources and efforts to develop the next generation assault military helicopter, called Sikorsky S-97 Raider. The Apache may have cemented its legendary status especially after leading offensive onslaughts at enemy forces and the smacking down Saddam Hussein troops in Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist outfit in Afghanistan, but the Raider presents a totally different preposition, altogether. The prototype Raider was unveiled back in 2014, and there must be quite much advancement now in terms of procurement and improvements as per tests and recommendations by big projects clients (like the US military) and other countries looking to empower their elite forces. Developed as a light tactical helicopter, it might prove a good addition in the military aviation ranks for modern warfare.

Body & Engine

Source: Sikorsky

The Raider boasts a body length of 34’, width of 16’ and 5.5’ height. The upper rotor blades have a diameter of 34’ and the lower blades having a slightly smaller diameter. At the back, the rotor propeller has a 7’ diameter. It has General Electric YT706 single turbo engine that enable it create enough power to lift excesses of 4,990 kg that makes up its weigh with load ups.

The propeller and double rotors

Raider 2.jpg

The  Sikorsky S-97 Raider was developed based on the X2 Technology. It has two main rotors on top of each other; which fly in opposite directions, and a big pusher propeller at the tail end. The genius engineering reason behind the 2 rotors mounted on top of each other is to cancel out rotational torque and provide stronger lift and thrust. The big propeller at the tail end provides forward thrust to increase the helicopters speed up to 220 knots. This makes it move faster than conventional helicopters. The variable speed coaxial main rotor and the variable propeller make the Raider a compound helicopter. The main rotors have stiff blades which are hingeless so as to improve low speed handling. Also, the stiff coaxial blades design increase efficiency when the aircraft is hovering. At high speeds, drag is reduced by the close spacing of the hubs. The stiff blades of the rotor allow it to have low lift on the retreating side of its rotor disk thereby reducing drag. The variable propeller reduces the rotor of the propulsion, thus reducing drag further.


By tilting the coaxial rotors together or differently, the Raptor can be maneuvered as desired during low speeds by the pilots. The variable propeller at the tail end of the Raptor and active elevons also play an important role in maneuvering the helicopter during high speed.

Expected Performance

The Raider The Raider accommodates 2 pilots sitting side by side, and room for 6 fully dressed troops for mission deployment and equipment for the mission. The Raider also carries external weapons such as Hellfire missiles, rockets and 0.5 calibre machine guns with 500 rounds of fire power. It can fly to a maximum of 10,000 ft. at 408 km/hr (220 knots) at extremely high temperatures. It can be refueled in the air, with a range of 600km. its exceptional hover capabilities, high cruise speed, agility and fly-by-wire flight controls make the Raider suitable used for reconnaissance missions, rescue assault and attacks, and close combat support.

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