Sikorsky to develop mission-adaptive rotorcraft
February 23, 2010 By Carey Fredericks
Feb. 23, 2010, Stratford, Conn. - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced on Sunday that its Sikorsky Innovations group has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a contract to develop active rotor technologies that will allow aircraft to adapt to a changing environment and dynamically enhance performance.
Once the DARPA contract is finalized, the project will have three phases starting with a $5.9 million contract for Phase I. This phase will take 16 months and focus on a robust design of the mission-adaptive rotor system, enabling technology development and assessment of the benefits. Phases II and III will be competitively awarded by DARPA at the conclusion of Phase I. Phase II calls for a validation of the design and ground test, while Phase III will entail flight testing.
“Adaptive rotor technologies have the potential to vastly improve performance, and reduce vibration and noise,” said Mark Miller, Vice President of Research and Engineering. “With this DARPA contract, Sikorsky Innovations will tackle the challenge of making the helicopter smarter. We are developing the next generation helicopter – an intelligent and adaptive helicopter that can become aware of its surroundings, identify the proximity of a threat, adjust in brownout situations, and respond appropriately.”
The program will create new options for the next generation of aircraft and retrofit possibilities for the existing fleet.
The mission of Sikorsky Innovations is to develop and mature the technologies, products and processes that will redefine the future of vertical flight. The organization builds on Sikorsky’s nearly 90 years of innovation and will increase the scope of previous efforts by expanding collaborative arrangements spanning government technology agencies, academic institutions, other UTC facilities and entrepreneurial businesses where research and product development will take place in cooperation with Sikorsky’s engineers and technicians. Projects are currently under way at more than 20 locations nationwide.