Sikorsky flew its X2 technology demonstrator for the last time at its West Palm Beach, Fla. test center last week in front of some of the company’s military and commercial customers. Contrary to previously announced plans, the semi-compound helicopter, which features two contra-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller, flew without its central hub fairing. The untested component was expected to add another 15 to 20 knots to the X2’s tested top speed of 253 ktas, attained in level flight on September 15. The program was thus drawn to an end after 23 flights, totaling approximately 22 hours.
“The X2 program has helped to develop the next generation of Sikorsky engineers, including some who are now in key positions on the S-97 Raider program and the Firefly electric helicopter program,” said Sikorsky president Jeff Pino. The manufacturer is now transitioning to the first X2 technology application, the military S-97 Raider, aiming at a 220-knot cruise speed. Two S-97 prototypes will be built, with six-passenger cabins and the ability to carry armament, for the U.S. military to evaluate. Sikorsky will bear the full cost for developing these prototypes, it added. The X2 will be on static display at EAA AirVenture, which starts on Monday in Oshkosh.