Opens New CH-53K Helicopter Assembly Plant In
March 23, 2011 - Sikorsky Aircraft officially opened a
new facility at its Florida Assembly and Flight
Operations (FAFO) campus, establishing experimental
assembly line operations for the new CH-53K heavy lift
Since 1959, United Technologies Corporation has been in
?The production of the next generation of heavy lift
helicopter prototype is underway,? said Dennis Jarvi,
vice president, Navy and Marine Corps Programs for
commence assembly line operations at FAFO, we are witnessing the
dawn of a new age in rotorcraft development and construction.
The CH-53K helicopter is being digitally designed and
manufactured. We have created ?virtual tools? that will improve
the learning process and identify and solve issues before they
become costly delays in manufacturing. The CH-53K helicopter
stands to become a model of innovative technology and capability
when it takes its role in the fleet.?
helicopter Florida Assembly and Flight Operations facility
consists of approximately 60,000 square feet of space. The
building, originally the home of Pratt & Whitney-Rocketdyne, has
been completely updated to create a modern assembly area.
Overhead power and air dropdowns, new aircraft work stands, and
overhead cranes have been installed to support aircraft final
assembly and rotor head/quality control assembly operations.
state-of-the-art facility also provides wireless data
connections to all operator plasma data screens. The new FAFO
operation will introduce the use of digital operation sheets to
aid in assembly and operate a four-position flight line to
produce the new aircraft.
?The CH-53K helicopter team has combined the new advances in technology with the learning of more than 70 years of manufacturing into a robust process that is expected to gain significant efficiencies during the build of the aircraft,? said John Johnson, CH-53K helicopter program manager.
Development and Demonstration (SDD) prototype aircraft will be built at
the FAFO facility, with two additional airframe test articles produced
at Sikorsky?s main manufacturing plant in
president of Sikorsky Military Systems, said: ?The
received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD)
contract on April 5, 2006 to develop a replacement for the U.S. Marine
Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. The new aircraft program is planned
to include production of more than 200 aircraft. Currently, the CH-53K
helicopter is in the SDD phase with all of the major subcontracts
awarded and valued at over $1.1B.
helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as its
predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E SUPER STALLION? helicopter, but
will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles
under ?high hot? ambient conditions. The CH-53E helicopter is currently
the largest, most powerful marinized helicopter in the world. It is
deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport
personnel and equipment and to carry external (sling) cargo loads.
The CH-53K helicopter?s maximum gross weight (MGW) with internal loads is 74,000 pounds compared to 69,750 pounds for the CH-53E aircraft. The CH-53K?s MGW with external loads is 88,000 pounds as compared to 73,500 for the CH-53E helicopter.
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