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Sikorsky Aircraft has unveiled the CH- 53K heavy lift helicopter, the next generation in the CH- 53 type series.
The company explains the GE Aviation’s all-new T408 engine plays a key role in the increased capability of the CH-53K helicopter.
According to Sikorsky, compared to the CH-53E aircraft’s T64 turboshaft powerplant, the three new engines provide 57% more power for approximately 20% lower specific fuel consumption. To convert the extra engine power into torque and shaft horsepower within a similarly-sized main gearbox, the company developed a new transmission that efficiently transfers the engine power to the CH-53K helicopter’s main rotors.
For increased lift, Sikorsky Aircraft claims to have developed the company’s largest and most technologically advanced main rotor blade. At 35 feet span length, and almost three feet chord width, the all-composite blade has 12% more surface area than the CH-53E blade.
Sikorsky explains the new aircraft’s major airframe sections were built from strong, lightweight advanced composite materials by Aurora Flight Sciences, Exelis, GKN Aerospace and Spirit Aerosystems. To ensure exceptional flight handling qualities and low pilot workload, a Rockwell Collins digital glass cockpit governs a fly-by-wire flight control system developed by Sikorsky, UTC Aerospace Systems, Eaton and BAE.
Mick Maurer, President, Sikorsky commented “The rollout of the CH-53K helicopter introduces a new era in Marine Corps aviation and is an exciting milestone in our company’s 91 year history. The CH-53K aircraft will effectively triple the external load carrying capacity of the CH-53E aircraft — to more than 27,000 pounds over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles. With its 88,000-pound maximum gross weight, powerful new engines, lightweight composite structure, new rotor blades and fly-by-wire flight controls, the CH-53K will have the means to move troops and equipment from ship to shore, and to higher altitude terrain, more quickly and effectively than ever before.”
Photo courtesy of Sikorsky
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