Sikorsky tests structural strength of CH-53K
April 14, 2014, Stratford, Conn. - An initial series of tests to verify the structural strength of the new CH-53K Super Stallion helicopter have successfully been completed by Sikorsky Aircraft.
By Carey Fredericks
The tests, required by the U.S. Naval Air Systems, were conducted
using a full-size, non-flying airframe called the Static Test Article.
Static Test Article will enable Sikorsky to replicate the many
stresses, strains and aerodynamic forces the CH-53K helicopter will
experience during all aspects of flight, whether the aircraft is empty,
filled with cargo, or carrying up to 36,000 pounds of gear suspended
beneath the aircraft by an external sling," said Mike Torok, Sikorsky's
CH-53K program vice president.
"By placing incrementally heavier
static loads on various parts of the airframe assembly — including
those well beyond the airframe's analytical design strength — we can
measure structural integrity, airworthiness and crash worthiness, and
verify safety margins for all expected operational conditions," Torok
"The Static Test Article is composed of the cockpit, cabin,
fuel sponsons, a transition section and the tail rotor pylon — all
suspended off the ground by the shaft of the aircraft’s main rotor
gearbox. Surrounding support beams hold the numerous hydraulic cylinders
that apply the flight and inertial loads to parts of the airframe
assembly,” Sikorsky said.
Component-representative weights that simulate the presence of the engines and landing gear are also part of the configuration.
Six tests have been performed to date and testing will continue for another two years, the company said.
CH-53K is a heavy-lift aircraft with a cruise speed of 196 miles per
hour and a combat radius of 110 miles. The U.S. Marine Corps plans to
procure some 200 CH-53Ks, which are expected to become operational in