Aurora Flight Sciences (Bridgeport, W.V., USA) on April 27 announced the delivery of the first CH-53K helicopter composite main rotor pylon (MRP) structural assembly to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
The CH-53K helicopter will be the world’s premier heavy lift helicopter. The helicopter is expected to provide the U.S. Marine Corps expeditionary forces with heavy lift capability well into the 21st century.
This delivery is the first of five MRP assemblies to be delivered as part of the CH-53K Helicopter System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program. The MRP assembly section will be integrated to the CH-53K Helicopter Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) at Sikorsky’s Florida Assembly and Flight Operations (FAFO) facility located in West Palm Beach, Fla., USA.
Design work on the CH-53K MRP began in 2007 at Aurora’s engineering center in Manassas, Va. Production of the first MRP began in 2010 at Aurora’s composites production facility in Bridgeport, W.V.
“The first CH-53K MRP was delivered ahead of schedule. This schedule acceleration was made possible by the combined effort of the Aurora and Sikorsky engineering and manufacturing teams. We are privileged to play a key role in delivering the next generation of heavy lift helicopters to our nation’s warfighters,” said Carl Schaefer, Aurora’s CH-53K helicopter program manager.
“As one of the major suppliers to the CH-53K helicopter, Aurora helps establish the standards for performance for this program. In this role, Aurora met their schedule commitments and raised the bar with an early delivery of the MRP,” added John Johnson, Sikorsky’s CH-53K helicopter program manager.
Aurora was recently selected by Sikorsky to design and build prototype airframes for its S-97 RAIDER program. Aurora was recognized as Sikorsky’s “Supplier of the Year” for 2010. Dennis Jarvi, Sikorsky’s vice president of Navy and Marine Corps Programs, stated, “The integration of composite technologies is critical in the design success of the CH-53K helicopter. The MRP plays an important role in the airframe design as it houses, provides access to, and protects multiple systems within the upper fuselage section. Through design and fabrication of the MRP, Aurora was able to achieve their weight specification objectives. This is absolutely critical to the success of the CH-53K helicopter in meeting the warfighter’s requirements.”
“Aurora’s business relationship with Sikorsky continues to grow, bringing skilled jobs to Bridgeport, West Virginia, while providing high quality components on time, every time,” said Rob Penrod, Aurora’s vice president of manufacturing.