HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – By the year 2030, the Army hopes to have a new technology to replace the iconic Blackhawk helicopter.
There are two companies in competition to create the most dynamic and effective replacement. One of them is Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company.
News 19 Reporter Jordan Dafnis got to test out a simulator for one of the new technologies.
Lockheed Martin representatives say Future Vertical Lift is a plan to replace all of the U.S. Department of Defense helicopters with next-generation Rotorcraft.
In order to stay ahead, the military needs a new helicopter fleet that offers advanced capabilities in speed, range, agility, survivability, reliability, maintainability, and more.
The Army is currently focused on two aircraft:
One is the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). This will replace some AH-64 Apaches and fill a capability gap left by the OH-58D Kiowa.
Companies Bell and Sikorsky are building prototypes of this aircraft and the Army could start fielding the new scout aircraft by 2028.
The next aircraft is the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), that will replace the Black Hawk. According to Lockheed Martin, it is on track to be fielded by 2030. The Sikorsky-Boeing team and Bell are competing in this effort.
“X2 technology is the basis of what this simulator shows,” said Jay Macklin is the Director of FVL Business Development. “It’s two coaxial rotor systems that are rigid as well as the pusher prop. And we believe that allows speed, maneuverability, agility which we believe equates to survivability.”
The term X2 Technology refers to a group of technologies developed by Sikorsky that allow the aircraft to operate at high speed, while also improving operational capability, maneuverability, agility, survivability and lethality at the landing zone.
The Raider X simulator visiting Huntsville allows Army customers to take it for a test ride.
The goal is for the aircraft to be the fastest, most agile, and easiest to fly.
Developing this intricate technology doesn’t happen overnight.
“They give industry these requirements, we develop designs in the army for all the right reasons it’s a very thorough regimen that they put industry through,” said Macklin
Lockheed Martin is developing both the Raider X and a variation called Defiant.
“Sikorsky Lockheed Martin has been supplying the Blackhawk to the Army for more than 40 years, they are looking to modernize the fleet as they move forward in time,” said Macklin.
Right now the aircraft are being tested in West Palm Beach Florida.