The US Air Force chooses a new attack helicopter, the troops will receive the model “Raider” or “Invincible”. Until now, the main vehicle is the modernized multi-purpose Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, produced since 1977.
The AUSA-2019 exhibition showed what preferences the US Air Force has for a new attack helicopter, which will be equipped with army units. The main competitors are “Raider” or “Invincible”. There are five helicopter manufacturers in the United States: AVX Aircraft (in partnership with L3Harris Technologies), Sikorsky Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, Karem Aircraft and Boeing. Military observers associate the Pentagon's desire to strengthen its position on rotorcraft with the buildup of this fleet in Russia and China. The new machine will be entrusted with the mission to provide absolute leadership in the helicopter industry for decades to come. Two of the five proposed options will be selected, the winner will be determined by the end of the decade, and then the serial sample will be approved.
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter has a gas turbine engine and two turbojets, reaching a speed of 440 km / h. Further, they call the full-size model of the Bell 360 Invictus helicopter (translated as “Invincible”). This vehicle is based on the Bell 525 Relentless civilian helicopter. The cruising speed is 330 km / h. The aircraft received a classic helicopter aerodynamic layout with one main rotor and one tail rotor, while the Raider has one coaxial rotor and an additional pusher at the rear of the fuselage.
There is a difference in the placement of the pilots – in the Sikorsky S-97 they sit side by side, while in the Bell 360 Invictus, the seats are installed one after the other. In determining the winner, the Pentagon will look at the speed, stealth and price of the new attack helicopter.