Curtiss-Wright (Booth No. 1855) of Parsippany, N.J., announced yesterday at Heli-Expo 2011 that it has received a contract from Sikorsky Aircraft to develop and supply blade-fold distributor units and digital air-data computers for the OEM’s CH-53K Super Stallion, a heavy-lift redesign and upgrade of the CH-53E for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Buoyed by steady and solid U.S. government and international work, Sikorsky is demonstrating strong hover performance in challenging economic conditions, and president Jeff Pino’s press conference yesterday morning was one of the more information-rich sessions here at Heli-Expo.
Donaldson has delivered the first full-scale engine air particle protection system (EAPPS) to Sikorsky for the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter destined to achieve initial operating capability (IOC) with the U.S. Marines in 2018. Qualification testing of the EAPPS will begin in May.
The Sikorsky CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter program this week achieved “ready to load” condition with the successful light-off of its first auxiliary power unit (APU). The program will be ready to begin formal integration testing early next year.
Boeing and Eurocopter have agreed to cooperate on a future transport helicopter (FTH) and at the ILA Berlin Air Show both companies displayed a tandem-rotor concept that resembles an enlarged CH-47 Chinook. The fuselage would be 66 feet long and 12 feet wide, enabling the internal carriage of armored vehicles. Both France and Germany have requirements for a next-generation heavy-lift helicopter, and a NATO staff target is being developed.
Sikorsky has begun the tooling process for the U.S. Marine Corps’ next-generation CH-53K heavylift helicopter, while General Electric is preparing to run the intended powerplant for the first time next January. Those events keep the program on track for a first flight scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. Around 90 percent of the supplier base has been selected.
Sikorsky is confident its upgraded medium twin, the S-76D, will make its first flight in the fourth quarter of next year, said Bruce McKinney, v-p for Europe. Sikorsky engineers are building the all-composite blades for the main rotor. Pratt & Whitney Canada has been running three PW210S development engines. Wind-tunnel tests have been performed to check engine inlet icing.
Sikorsky last month opened a 25,000-sq-ft Design Engineering Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Workers at the center will conduct dynamic systems design and avionics integration. According to Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president for engineering, work at this facility will initially support the military CH-53K heavy-lift program. The facility will also support Sikorsky’s future growth needs.
Sikorsky Aircraft has made its first major subsystem supplier award for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K heavy lift helicopter development program and expects to have completed the entire selection process by the end of this year or early next.