ITT Exelis (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA) reports it has been awarded a contract valued at more than $15 million from Sikorsky, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., for the production of composite tail rotor blade components on the S-76D helicopter. The work will be performed at the new Exelis composite design and manufacturing center in Salt Lake City.
Under this contract, Exelis will fabricate key structures of the S-76D composite tail rotor blade assembly, including the blades, the composite laminate beam, which carries the load of the tail rotors, and additional hardware required for final assembly. Composite materials in the tail rotor blade assembly, critical to the aircraft’s directional stability, help reduce the weight of the aircraft, improve its reliability and decrease the noise impact to its passengers and the communities where it operates.
“Composite structures are increasingly used by commercial and military aircraft manufacturers to make aircraft lighter, more fuel efficient and more durable,” says Mike Blair, vice president and general manager of the Exelis aerostructures business. “By leveraging our core composite capabilities, demonstrated assembly expertise and commitment to lean manufacturing, we will provide Sikorsky with the highest quality, affordable composite solutions at reduced lead times.”
Exelis is positioned to achieve the high-production rates required by the S-76D program using its expanded manufacturing capacity, precision composite fabrication and machining expertise and final part finishing capability. A long-standing supplier to Sikorsky, Exelis also fabricates composite structures for the commercial S-76C platform and the U.S. Marine Corps’ heavy lift helicopter, the CH-53K.