For the second time, Sikorsky has earned the Robert J. Collier Trophy, awarded annually since 1910 for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.” Sikorsky’s X2 team received the 2010 trophy for developing a coaxial, auxiliary propulsion helicopter (it has a rear pusher prop) that has been clocked at an unofficial record speed of 250 knots. The X2 features fly-by-wire flight controls and active vibration control. Sikorsky won its first Collier Trophy in 2002 for its X-92 helicopter, a twin-engine, four-bladed, medium-lift chopper.
In the Collier Trophy’s centennial year, Sikorsky’s X2 team faced some stiff competition, including the X-51A WaveRider scramjet—which set a record in 2009 for the longest atmospheric flight exceeding Mach 5—and Boeing’s C-17A Globemaster III cargo lifter, which was designed to take off and land on short runways. Development of the X2, described by a Sikorsky spokesman as “the result of a project to demonstrate that a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining excellent low-speed handling, efficient hovering and a seamless transition to high speed,” began in 2005. Sikorsky recently announced a light attack/scout version of the X2, designated as the X-97 Raider, is in the works.