Sikorsky Aircraft Corp has begun full system testing of the U.S. Marine Corps' CH-53K heavy lift helicopter with all seven main rotor blades and four tail rotor blades attached for the first time to a non-flying prototype called the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV).
Powered "Light-Off" with rotor blades spinning follows a "Bare Head" (without blades) test phase of the GTV aircraft's systems powered by its three GE 7,500 horsepower class engines, and begins a rigorous two-year test program of the rotor blades, transmission, engines, and all subsystems while the GTV is anchored to the ground.
"This is another key milestone in our building block approach to maturing the aircraft system," said Mike Torok, Sikorsky's CH-53K Program vice president, of the April 17 event.
"The aircraft is now fully configured to proceed to the next series of system integration tests that will further validate the aircraft systems, such as rotors, drive, electrical, hydraulic, avionics and flight controls – all leading to operational acceptance testing that will clear the flight aircraft for flight operations. The preliminary results maintain our confidence in meeting first flight of the initial flight test helicopter in late 2014."
The GTV will play a key role for Sikorsky and the U.S. Marine Corps during hundreds of hours of powered ground tests as the CH-53K team prepares for first flight and the subsequent three-year flight test program.
By accumulating operational experience ahead of the four flight test aircraft — currently in final assembly — the GTV can measure and verify the ability of the drive system, transmissions and engines to fly the CH-53K helicopter safely and efficiently across multiple flight scenarios up to its 88,000-pound (39,916 kg) maximum gross weight with an external load.
During the next 250 hours of operation, the GTV will continue to assess the helicopter's subsystems and the structural integrity and whirl characteristics of the rotors, blades and drive train.
The first of the four flight test helicopters — known as Engineering Development Models — is scheduled to take to the skies in late 2014. During the three-year flight test program, each flight test aircraft is expected to accumulate approximately 500 flight test hours. To ensure safety of flight, the GTV will continue to accumulate hundreds of operational endurance hours ahead of the flight aircraft.
The Naval Air Systems Command gave the go-ahead for the powered tests in December following closure of actions from an October Test Readiness Review and the completion of sub-system qualification testing.
"This joint CH-53K team has prepared well for this important day," said Col. Robert Pridgen, U.S. Marine Corps program manager for heavy lift helicopters. "Discipline, hard work and some really smart folks have gotten us to this point. Looking forward, it'll take more of the same as our confidence grows with respect to dynamic and system level performance of the Marine Corps' next heavy lift platform. This is a great start leading us to first flight later this year."
Sikorsky and the US Army have successfully demonstrated optionally piloted flight of a Black Hawk helicopter, according to an official statement. The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator, known as Sikorskys Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) Program, conducted the successful first flight demonstration on March 11 at Sikorskys Development Flight Center
Sikorsky will pay $3.5 million to settle claims that it overcharged the US military for replacement Black Hawk components, according to The Courant
The US Air Force will award the long-pending combat rescue helicopter (CRH) contract to Sikorsky by June 2014, according to reports. The USAF will realign approximately $430m from other priorities beyond 2014 through 2020 in a bid to award a competitive contract for a new rescue helicopter to perform the personnel recovery mission, according to airforce-technology
Sikorsky has signed agreements with the Turkish government and its aerospace contractors to manufacture 109 T-70 helicopters. The agreements license the transfer of certain manufacturing technology to Turkish industry, and provide for the potential to produce up to a total of 600 aircraft, including both T-70 units for Turkish indigenous use and S-70i aircraft for export over the next 30 years
Turkey's defense firm, Aselsan announced today a $491.5 million deal with Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), prime local contractor for the Sikorsky-led utility helicopter program estimated $3
Sikorsky Aircraft's Matrix Technology autonomy research program has progressed to the second phase of flight test activities with the installation of advanced sensors to allow the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) to conduct real-time perception work. Sikorsky's Matrix Technology program has set rigorous key performance parameters this year including demonstrating safe flight in obstacle-rich environments, shipboard and brownout condition landings
Rheinmetall and Sikorsky signed a strategic teaming agreement for competing in the German Air Force "Schwerer Transporthubschrauber" (STH) Program. "With Rheinmetall as the strategic partner for Sikorsky, we are convinced that together we provide the best possible state-of-the-art aircraft for the German Air Force as successor for the legacy CH-53G fleet," said Armin Papperger Rheinmetall CEO
US Marine Gen.Joseph Dunford Jr is likely to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff succeeding Army Gen
Sikorsky won a $1.28 billion contract to develop a combat rescue helicopter for the U
Sikorsky today announced the certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) of enhanced functionality for the S-92® helicopter. The announcement was made at both the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibit (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland, and at the ILA Berlin exhibition in Germany
Sikorsky Aircraft announced today from the AUVSI Unmanned Systems conference that it will develop its first product to feature Matrix™ Technology, by converting a retired UH-60A BLACK HAWK helicopter into an optionally piloted variant capable of a wide spectrum of missions. With the autonomous BLACK HAWK, Sikorsky plans to build on the success of its Matrix Technology and Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) autonomy programs to deliver a new level of mission flexibility to combat and logistic planners
Lockheed Martin to Develop Extra-large Underwater Drone
Russian Navy to Sign Contract for 2 Additional Nuclear-powered Submarines
Japan to Manufacture Aircraft Parts in Malaysia
India, US to Seal $3B Worth Defense Deals Tomorrow
Mobile Phone Led Israelis to Destory Pantsir-S Air Defence Battery in Syria
China’s Z-10 Attack Helicopter Upgraded with Powerful Engine
Japan's F-X Stealth Fighter to Rival US' F-22
Russia Developing New Attack Helicopter ‘Airborne Combat Vehicle’
Several joint production and direct procurement programs could be halted if the US and Europe carry through with their threat...
Sanctions-hit Iran has found ingenious ways to develop military hardware
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the defence industry to aid and improve human decision-making
Upgrade of Russias Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the more powerful Su-35...
US companies sanctioned by China for supplying weapons to Taiwan may be denied rare earth elements (REEs), which have critical...
While the US F-35 stealth aircraft has become one the fastest selling fighter jets in the world aircraft market, thanks...