On first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking this week’s video was a trailer for an upcoming summer blockbuster, with its dramatic music and liberal use of CGI. And Lockheed Martin is certainly billing its S-97 Raider helicopter as the next big thing.
Developed by Lockheed subsidiary Sikorsky, the S-97 can reach speeds in excess of 220 knots (253mph), which is almost double that of a conventional helicopter. It does so using Lockheed’s X2 Technology, where twin, counter-rotating blades combine with a clutched propeller to deliver the power.
The ‘high and hot’ prototype, which is currently undergoing testing, can operate at heights of 10,000 ft in 35°C heat, with a range of over 600km. While the Raider only has space onboard for six troops, Sikorsky is working alongside Boeing on a much bigger chopper called Defiant. Capable of speeds over 300mph (261 knots), Defiant will be able to carry 12 personnel, and is aiming to prove the scalability of the X2 co-axial rotor system.