Andrew Drwiega talked exclusively to three of Sikorsky’s presidents on the eve of the Paris Air Show 2011, including Sikorsky Aircraft President Jeffrey Pino.
Rotor & Wing: There is a widespread international concern today over the direction and pace of rotorcraft development in order to meet future needs. A main focus of concern seems to be the lack of government funding. Sikorsky appears to have created its own solution witnessed by the X2/S-97 development process. This seems to be the first step in developing a capability for the future. I’m also thinking of the potential for scalability—is growth ingrained in the program as well?
Jeff Pino: If someone isn’t willing to pay for development, then we feel that we can gain an advantage by doing it ourselves—and there are a couple of us doing that [meaning Eurocopter’s X³]. Sikorsky has been focused on this for around five years. X2 is a solution to a set of problems. The demonstrations did a little better than we thought, so it made sense to move into a development based on a Request for Proposal that may not exist anymore, but there is a set of requirements that look like a Light Attack/Armed Aerial Scout. We are learning things with X2 and S-97 that we are backward deploying into products that will generationally look like the current products, but will link that technology back.