DT Video: Close up of Sikorsky’s X2 Coaxial Helo

While not exactly brand new tech, one of the coolest displays at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference here in Washington was Sikorsky’s X2 high speed helicopter. Yup, the actual helo used to test out Sikorksy’s coaxial rotor designs last year. The chopper was a hit of the show, constantly surrounded by picture takers, including me. Enjoy these close up photos and a quick iPhone video of the chopper below the jump.

  • Wild Bill

    Do the two rotors kick up more dust than just the single rotor? Also, do the pusher blades kick dust into the face of the helo behind it when landing?


    • tchump

      Why would dust be any more of a concern here than for the Osprey, or the Chinook, or the Havok, or any other two-rotor chopper?

      As for dust out the back, why would it be any more of a problem here than for the Super Tucano, or the Piper Cub, or any other “pull-type” single-engine turboprop?

      Besides, if it’s landing vertically, it’s not going to be pushing any dust with its pusher blades anyway, is it?

    • Jeff

      Its two rotors with a smaller diameter than you’d normally have on an airframe of its size. Dust is kicked up by the turbulent airflow coming from the outer edge of the rotor. The fact that its a smaller diameter, to me, would imply a smaller effected area but an overall greater density of dust within that area.

      The pusher blade can be turned off for landing. Unlike conventional rotorcraft the X-2 doesn’t need the rearward rotor to stabalize and prevent rotation because of the fact that its main rotors are coaxial and counter each others imparted rotation.

  • Jeff

    While not “brand new technology”… what is novel is its effective marriage of several pre-existing concepts into a single well performing vehicle. I think this is a great piece of technology and represents what the defense industry needs to see more of. Its a company that invested its own money into a technology development platform that exceeded expectations and did so in a timely fashion. The applications are very apparent in taking the current generation of rotorcraft to the next. Faster and more maneuverable; closing the gap between helicopter and tiltrotor through the use of less complicated and less vulnerable mechanics.

  • Zap

    This is the direction helicopters should have gone in decades ago , and for the marines and navy it is exactly what they should have been spending money on instead of some of the garbage programs that they have thrown away $billions on

  • Lance

    Too ugly. and way too small.

    • Sum Guy

      X = experimental, just saying

    • Itsatechdem!


  • Ziv

    The x2’s first real world application looks like it will be the S97 which will carry a crew of 2 and 6 troops, oddly enough. But the specs look like it will fit right inbetween the UH60 and the V22 on speed. UH60 cruises at 150 knots, the S97 at 200 knots, and the V22 at 241 knots, or maybe a bit more as of late.
    Will they stretch/enlarge the S97 design slightly to allow a troop carrying variant to carry up to 10 troops? Redesign it to get up above 210 knots? It sure seems like the X2 opens up a huge amount of question about what will be the followup aircraft to the UH60/CH47F’s. The CH53 seems to be immune to to much fallout from this, but it sure seems like the increase in the cruise speed would eliminate some of the advantages of the V22, but that a blended fleet of classic H60’s and CH47’s, complemented by V22’s and troop carrying variants of the S97 would be the best of all scenarios. And also the most expensive…

    • hsatpft

      A previous piece discussed Sikorsky’s proposal for UAV, scout, attack & light transport birds based on the X-2. https://www.defensetech.org/2011/10/11/sikorskys-next-
      There’s no obvious reason why, in the long run, much larger helos couldn’t be built with co-ax rotors & pusher props. The V-22 is already here but it may be the last tilt-rotor the services buy.

      • moose

        Actually Sikorsky themselves have indicated that there is a upper limit on how much the X2 concept can scale up. Above Medium (UH-60) size the flexing of the larger rotors at speed and the speed of the rotor tips would be too great for current technology to compensate for. You could do really large Coaxials, but they”d just be coaxials and not X2.

        I think X2 and Tilt-rotor are perfect compliments. From UAV up to Medium size, X2 is well-suited. Above that, Tilt-rotor makes the most sense.

        • hsatpft

          I think what you mean is that you could have a really big copter with a pusher prop, but it couldn’t have coaxial rotors so it would be a different concept thatn the X-2. More like that Eurocopter demonstrator that’s a SA-365 (?) with short wings & ordinary props. Faster than an ordinary copter & mechanically simpler than a tilt rotor.
          I recall reading a while ago that the turning ability of the Ka-50 was limited at high speeds because the g-forces could cause the rotor tips to collide & cause a crash.

        • kim

          Maybe two sets of two rotors would solve that problem. In the end it would still be cheaper to build as well as less complex than the Osprey, which I see as its main advantage.

  • Letsallbefriends

    This tech is the mutt’s nuts IMO. Let Sikorsky develop the S97 Raider on their own budget & then go down there with the army’s cheque book.

    • mhmm…

      No one would bother. History has shown that if you develop big ticket items with out a contract you get screwed. A la F5 & original Sikorsky Blackhawk

      • blight

        The majority of self-developed prototypes just sink into limbo, because the military doesn’t turn around designs as quickly as the civilian car market.

        • DennisBuller

          I think even politics and military inertia cannot stop a design that is much faster and can go much farther than current designs.
          In the end the military is all about logistics.

          • blight

            If it is picked up and run with by the civilian market, it has a chance. Or if it promises tremendous improvement over inventory, like the V-22.

      • Letsallbefriends

        Fair point, but history also shows that if you develop big ticket items with a contract the taxpayer gets screwed. A la everything else.

        Is there a way of developing and procuring major defence projects in which no one gets screwed? If not, then as a taxpayer rather than a defence contractor, I’d like it to be them.

  • racoon1

    You’ve got to admit the first picture looks kind of like a food processor with all the blades.

  • drball

    AH-56 any one….Just when you think there is something new under the sun….

    • William C.

      Some differences in the configuration however, plus 40+ years of technological development should help.

  • Highy descriptive article, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?