Good vibrations: LORD announces breakthrough for CH-47 Chinook
By LORD Corporation
LORD Corporation has announced product qualification for their Improved Vibration Control System (IVCS) for the Boeing H-47 Chinook helicopter.
By LORD Corporation
Under contract with Boeing since Sept. 2013, LORD has completed all program milestones and has received final qualification approval for the state-of-the-art patented system that controls steady state and transient vibration.
According to Stuart Hartwell, business development manager for LORD Global Aerospace & Defense, this qualification milestone for the twin-engine tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter represents a major step in bringing significant weight savings to the H-47 platform.
The multiyear qualification effort culminated in late 2015 with installation and final flight evaluation of the production-ready IVCS. IVCS is the H-47 program name for LORD Corporation’s proven Active Vibration Control System. The U.S. Army Aviation Engineering Directorate recently completed the final qualification approval, and product deliveries for incorporation into the Boeing CH-47F production line will begin in mid-2016.
The IVCS technology uses accelerometers that measure aircraft vibration levels. A centralized computer processes these signals through a software algorithm that interprets the data and sends commands to force generators located under the pilot seats. These force generators create “anti-vibration” that stops the progression of vibration due to the main rotor, and creates a more comfortable vibration environment for the aircrew. The LORD product is a direct/drop-in replacement for the previously used passive tuned vibration absorber. According to Mike Janowski, manager of electromechanical design at LORD, the IVCS is easily installed using existing mounts on the Chinook aircraft and outperforms the legacy system.
LORD secured the contract through a joint effort of LORD engineering, the U.S. Army Cargo Helicopter Program Office, and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. In addition to providing the system hardware, LORD provided the manpower and resources to flight-test the system to demonstrate performance results.
According to LORD Corporation’s Jim Nietupski, customer executive, the pursuit of this initiative from LORD began in 2004 with the idea of replacing heavy passive tuned vibration absorbers under the pilot’s seat with a new technology that would save weight. After a flight demonstration of the product, which began in 2008 with the Mississippi Army National Guard, and after several years of continued testing with the assistance of the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the Army decided to pursue a program and selected Boeing to serve as the integrator of this technology.
Throughout its development, the Chinook aircraft has evolved with new technology, gained new capability and has increased in weight. This IVCS technology offers a triple-digit weight savings benefit, which creates a performance buy-back for H-47 Operators. LORD Corporation’s system will now be part of the baseline configuration moving forward in 2016, followed by opportunities for retrofit of Special Operation’s MH-47G, fielded CH-47Fs, and Foreign Military Sales’ H-47 aircraft.
“This IVCS equipment provides state-of-the-art performance and represents a major upgrade to the legacy vibration suppression system on this aircraft,” said Hartwell. “As a leader in active vibration control technology, LORD is expanding its business footprint at a critical time in the aviation industry.”
LORD has supplied Boeing with vibration control solutions for more than 50 years. In addition to this new product, LORD supplies various aerospace components, including vibration isolators, mounts and elastomeric bearings, to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for the H-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache, and V-22 Osprey. LORD recently received a 2015 Silver-level Boeing Performance Excellence Award for its quality and delivery performance.