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    Sikorsky S-97 Raider Spins Up Coaxial Rotors On Maiden Flight

    In January 2014, Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) selected Spectrum Associates, Inc. as a member of the  team that built the S-97 RAIDER™ helicopter. Spectrum designed and integrated the components that comprise the fuel system into the aircraft. Spectrum also provides Sikorsky with the completed fuel system in kit form.

    Sikorsky's S-97 Raider prototype helicopter, which was revealed to the world last year, has flown for the first time. 

    The S-97 Raider features a pusher propeller and coaxial counter-rotating main rotors. It is intended as a multi-mission aircraft to replace the US Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter and the Special Forces' MH-6 Little Bird, and is based on the design of the X2 Technology Demonstrator.

    The S-97 Raider's first flight was limited to a series of maneuvers intended to test its hover and low-speed capabilities. Sikorsky anticipates the S-97 will be capable of cruise speeds of up to 240 knots (276 mph, 444 km/h).

    The maiden flight at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center (DFC) in Florida lasted around an hour, with pilot Bill Fell and co-pilot Kevin Bredenbeck at the controls.
    The S-97 Raider prototype will now move onto more progressive flight testing intended to demonstrate capabilities critical to a variety of potential combat missions, including armed reconnaissance, light assault, light attack and special operations - having successfully completed its first flight.

    Sikorsky has a demonstration tour planned for the S-97 Raider in 2016. A second prototype is also currently under construction, and is set to be completed by the end of this year.