The X2 design is scalable, which makes possible its use in several different types of missions. These include combat search and rescue, armed aerial scout, medical evacuation, attack, special operations, and the transport of VIPs and offshore oil. In addition to speed, Sikorsky expects that the design will give its RAIDER aircraft dramatic improvements over conventional helicopters in maneuverability, range, endurance, altitude, and hover efficiency. These should be attractive to the US Army, which is expected to replace its OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter with a new light-armed reconnaissance helicopter design for its Armed Aerial Scout program.
Hexcel is a major supplier of carbon-fiber-reinforced composites to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 XWB commercial aircraft. It is also the supplier of all the Airbus A350 XWB's primary structure prepreg, which includes Hexcel carbon fiber.
Sikorsky is investing about 75 percent of the expected cost of the S-97 RAIDER program, and members of the supplier team will invest about 25 percent. The program is currently in the advanced design stage. Demonstration of the helicopters' flight and aerodynamic performance in a simulated military environment is slated to begin in 2014.