Sikorsky Tables New CH-53K Proposal
Flight Global (03/26/2012) Majumdar, Dave
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command is evaluating a proposal Sikorsky made at the beginning of March to build four production-representative CH-53K Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters. A contract award is expected after the evaluation, although a specific date has not been given. The four pre-production aircraft will be used for operational evaluations and to finish developmental testing. The CH-53K is expected to be operational in 2019, a year later than previously slated. Although designated as CH-53, the K-model helicopter is a new design that incorporates all-new technology, with a fly-by-wire control system, a split-torque transmission, and a new cabin, all designed with the use of CATIA-5 computer-aided design software. Many subsystems are in testing before installation in the ground test airframe. Sikorsky has also built a static test airframe to help to determine how the helicopter will handle its structural loads. The aircraft will only be cleared for flight after it successfully completes its testing. Two flight test vehicles are in production in West Palm Beach. After basic flight tests, the Marines will begin operational testing on the four pre-production aircraft.