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Sikorsky Unveils State-of- the-Art Virtual Reality Center for CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

recently unveiled a state-of- the-art virtual reality center for the CH-53K heavy lift helicop- ter program, an innovative tool to help identify gaps in a three- dimensional digital environ- ment prior to experimental assembly. “The virtual reality tool allows the team to find produc- tion and maintenance issues that typically only could be found during the initial build of the aircraft,” said Dr. Michael Torok, Sikorsky vice president and chief engineer for Marine Corps programs. “With this tool, we can identify these potential problems in time to avoid them. Ultimately,


this will save time and money.” Located within the engineer- ing labs at Sikorsky’s main man- ufacturing facility, the virtual reality center uses sophisticated software, along with 12 cameras, a head-mounted display headset, gloves, and a gripping tool. All devices are linked to three com- puters, which comprise the “command center” for operating the system. “This tool will enhance the designer’s ability to design an aircraft that is easier to main- tain. Designers will no longer have to rely on their imagina- tions to understand assembly and maintenance issues. They will be able to experience them long before parts are fabricat- ed,” said Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president, research and engineering.

The CH-53K helicopter’s maximum gross weight (MGW)


with internal loads is 74,000 pounds, a 6 percent improve- ment over the CH-53E aircraft. The CH-53K’s MGW with external loads is 88,000 pounds, a 20 percent improve- ment over the CH-53E heli- copter. Features of the CH-53K hel- icopter include: a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight con- trols; fourth generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low- maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a lock- ing cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintain- ability and supportability. ◆

Mexico Federal Police Take Delivery of UH-60M BLACK HAWK Helicopters

The U.S Department of State

recently delivered three UH- 60M BLACK HAWK helicop- ters to the Government of Mexico’s Federal Police (FP). Designed and manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a sub- sidiary of United Technologies Corp. the aircraft are the first of six advanced helicopters designed to support Mexico’s law enforcement operations as part of the Merida Initiative, a security cooperation agreement between the two countries. The three UH-60M aircraft expand the Federal Police

force’s existing fleet of seven UH-60L BLACK HAWK heli- copters. Operational since 2008, those aircraft have become a critical law enforce- ment tool for disaster relief, troop transport, rescue, surveil- lance, and in the fight against organized crime and illegal drug trafficking across Mexico. “Use of the forward looking IR sensor, and this BLACK HAWK helicopter’s superior lift range and speed will further enhance the capabilities of the Federal Police to perform their very important law enforcement mission,” said David L. Powell, Sikorsky Vice President of Sales for the Americas. At a Mexico City reception to

recognize delivery of the UH- 60M helicopters, Sergei Sikorsky, son of Igor Sikorsky, who designed the first viable helicopter in the 1930s, remarked that helicopter opera- tions in Mexico had lived up to his father’s ardent desire that rotary wing aircraft be deployed for humanitarian purposes. In the summer of 1945, his father accompanied a 1945 sci- entific expedition to photo- graph the interior of Mexico’s erupting Parícutin volcano. The U.S. Army Air Corps and the Government of Mexico arranged for a Sikorsky R-6A helicopter to fly above the crater to help scientists observe the volcano’s interior during more than 100 flights at altitudes as high as 8,000 feet. It is believed the flights were the first ever by a helicopter in Mexico, and the first to conduct scientific obser- vations of an active volcano. Then in early October 1955, helicopters were again deployed to Mexico, this time by the U.S.

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