The new lab will develop, integrate and test the fly-by-wire and avionic systems for the MH-92, a military variant of Sikorsky's medium-lift S-92™ helicopter. Upon completion and certification, the fly-by-wire system will form the basis of future H-92™ helicopter military configurations.
"The MH-92 fly-by-wire system will provide improved handling qualities, greater mission effectiveness, and enhanced safety," said Mark Miller, Sikorsky's vice president of research & engineering.
Officials from the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Project (MHP), the first customer for the fly-by-wire system, and executives from BAE Systems, Sikorsky's teammate on H-92 fly-by-wire development, joined Sikorsky at the ribbon cutting. Sikorsky was awarded a contract in November 2004 to provide 28 MH-92 maritime helicopters, designated the CH-148 Cyclone, to replace Sea King aircraft currently in service with the Canadian Forces.
Sikorsky plans to develop companion fly-by-wire integration labs for the U.S. Army UH-60M BLACK HAWK upgrade, the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53X Heavy Lift Replacement helicopter, and Sikorsky's X2 TECHNOLOGY™ aircraft.
"This facility and the others that will follow underscore Sikorsky's commitment to invest in state-of-the art facilities and technology to expand our system integration capabilities in order to provide more value to the customer," Miller said.
The MH-92 lab is equipped with the full complement of aircraft subsystems that replicate the aircraft design and installation. These include electronic and mechanical flight controls, a complete avionics suite, and hydraulics, diagnostics and electrical power subsystems.
Fly-by-wire differs from traditional helicopter flight control systems because the mechanical linkage between the cockpit controllers and the actuators is replaced by a purely electrical system. In addition to more capability, fly-by-wire systems save weight and reduce maintenance costs compared with traditional systems.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. United Technologies Corporation, based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.