Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky has released photos of its Raider X prototype helicopter equipped with Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and a 20-millimeter main gun.
The Raider X is Sikorsky’s submission for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.
The images show a three-barreled main gun fitted under the helicopter with extendable launchers that fold to reduce drag in flight.
The Raider features pods that can be equipped with payloads including surveillance and attack drones.
According to company director Jay Macklin, the cutting-edge helicopter is already 90 percent complete, with 98 percent of necessary components now at its flight test facility in Florida.
“We’re working really closely with the US Army on the whole build, and they are extremely involved in every aspect of this,” Macklin was quoted as saying.
The Raider X is built based on Lockheed Martin’s X2 technology, supporting a significant increase in speed, combat radius, and payload.
The company described it as a “fast, agile, survivable compound coaxial helicopter” that will enable future aviators to address emerging peer and near-peer threats in the most challenging environments.
It features a modular system architecture that offers “plug-and-play” options for additional sensors and weapons.
Sikorsky also explained that its Raider X uses new technologies that decrease aircraft operating costs by shifting condition-based maintenance.
Bell’s Invictus prototype is Sikorsky’s sole competitor in the FARA program.
While Raider X is a compound-coaxial helicopter, the Invictus is a tandem-cockpit, conventional helicopter with a single main rotor and open tail rotor.
“The aircraft leverages a common open architecture digital backbone comparable to Bell V-280 Valor to give the US Army an always-ready advantage with an unbeatable fleet,” the company states on its website.