Sikorsky Aircraft showed off its new S-97 Raider late last week. The new light-attack helicopter uses a strange "coaxial design." What that means is, the top of the chopper has two counter-rotating blades while a push propeller is hanging out at the back of the helo.

The S-97 was developed as a replacement for the US military's OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, although the tiny attack helo's replacement program was put on hold due to budget cuts, Defense Tech reports.

One of the biggest benefits of the S-97 and its innovative design is, relative to most helicopters, its enormous top speed. An S-97 prototype hit 290 miles per hour in testing in 2010 and 2011, which is more than twice as fast as the current Kiowa Warrior's 140-mph top speed. Sikorsky, though, has only published the production chopper's cruising speed as 230 mph with a roughly 370-mile range.

"Raider is an all-new helicopter, all-new configuration," Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president of research and engineering, told Defense Tech. "We haven't seen something this new in 30 years."

Sikorsky is aiming to sell the Raider internationally, in addition to its potential role for the US military.


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