Boeing and Sikorsky have achieved what they set out to do. Their X2 Demonstrator has unofficially broken the world speed record for rotorcraft at 250-knots (288 mph, 463 km/h).
The X2 Demonstrator rotorcraft features a coaxial rotor with two main rotors counter-rotating on the same vertical axis, supplemented by an aeropusher prop at the rear of the aircraft supplying auxiliary propulsion and an advanced fly-by-wire system. Boeing and Sikorsky developed the X2 Demonstrator with several goals in mind including to fly at a 250-knot cruise airspeed, improve hover efficiency and be an affordable, weight-optimized design.
The X2 Demonstrator served as a “proof of concept” test craft and has been retired. However, the novel design will now become the basis for a new aircraft to be jointly developed by the partners.
According to the Army, the design reduces risk, delivers a 100-knot (115 mph, 160 kph) improvement in airspeed, a 60% improvement in combat radius and a 50% better high-hot hover performance. As a result, the project will move forward in two phases with Sikorsky taking the lead on the Joint Multi-Roll (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) and Boeing leading Phase 2, the Mission Systems Demonstrator program.
The project is expected to be completed in 2017 and deployed shortly thereafter. Final passenger capacity and on-board systems have yet to be determined.