Business

April 18, 2014

Sikorsky tests CH-53K helicopter for airframe structural strength

sikorsky-test
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., has successfully completed an initial series of tests required by the Naval Air Systems Command to verify the structural strength of the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter.

Conducted on a full-size non-flying airframe called the Static Test Article, the tests are part of a three-year program to validate that the largest helicopter ever designed and built by Sikorsky has the structural integrity to operate safely over its entire flight envelope — from its empty gross weight of 44,000 pounds up to its maximum gross weight of 88,000 pounds with external load.

“The Static Test Article will enable Sikorsky to replicate the many stresses, strains and aerodynamic forces the CH-53K helicopter will experience during all aspects of flight, whether the aircraft is empty, filled with cargo, or carrying up to 36,000 pounds of gear suspended beneath the aircraft by an external sling,” said Mike Torok Sikorsky’s CH-53K Program Vice President. “By placing incrementally heavier static loads on various parts of the airframe assembly — including those well beyond the airframe’s analytical design strength — we can measure structural integrity, airworthiness and crash worthiness, and verify safety margins for all expected operational conditions.”

The Static Test Article is housed in a specially-built test facility at Sikorsky’s manufacturing plant in Stratford, Conn. Consisting of the cockpit, the cabin, fuel sponsons, a transition section and the tail rotor pylon, the complete airframe assembly is suspended off the ground by the shaft of its main rotor gearbox. Surrounding support beams hold the numerous hydraulic cylinders that apply the flight and inertial loads to parts of the airframe assembly. Also attached to the STA structure are component-representative weights that simulate the presence of the engines and landing gear, among other key subsystems and components.

To date, Sikorsky has completed a total of six test conditions on the Static Test Article, all conducted during 2013 and early 2014. The first four test conditions satisfy pre-flight requirements ahead of a CH-53K flight test aircraft taking to the skies for the first time later this year. Replicating the maximum load conditions encountered while in flight, the four pre-flight tests measured the structural strength of the tail rotor pylon during high and low speed flight maneuvers, the landing gear during impact with the ground, and the full airframe structure while under maximum rotor power.

Sikorsky will continue to test the structural integrity of the CH-53K Static Test Article for another two years to validate the effects of aerodynamic forces and weight distribution on different sections of the airframe.

The Static Test Article is the first of two non-flying CH-53K test articles — along with five prototype and four production-representative heavy lift helicopters — that Sikorsky is developing as part of a $3.8 billion System Development and Demonstration contract for the U.S. Navy.

Per the current program of record, the Marine intends to order 200 CH-53K production aircraft, and to stand up eight operational squadrons and one training squadron to support the Marine Corps’ operational requirements. Eventual production quantities would be determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition priorities.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 17, 2014

News: Pentagon open to U.S. ground troops in fight against Islamic State - The Pentagon’s top general opened the door Sept. 16 to the possibility that U.S. combat troops would be needed in Iraq, as he publicly laid out President Obama’s still-developing plans to combat Islamic State insurgents through U.S. air power and relying on an...
 
 

News Briefs September 17, 2014

U.S. to assign 3,000 troops to fight Ebola The Obama administration is preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to combat the Ebola outbreak that has overwhelmed local health care systems and drawn appeals for help from the region and aid organizations. The troops will supply medical and logistical support and boost...
 
 
Navy photograph

Future USNS Fall River delivered

Navy photograph The joint high speed vessel USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) completes acceptance trials testing and evaluations in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship’s trials included dockside testing to clear the ship for sea and at-...
 

 
University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen

NASA airborne campaigns focus on climate impacts in Arctic

University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen Changes in more than 130 Alaskan glaciers are being surveyed by scientists at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in a DHC-3 Otter as part of NASA’s multi-year Oper...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory finds planet that makes star act deceptively old

Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss A new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that a giant exoplanet, WASP-18b, is making the star that it orbits very closely act much older than it actually is. This artist&...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>