Sikorsky Unveils Virtual Reality
January 18, 2011 - Sikorsky Aircraft unveiled a state-of-the-art virtual reality center for the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program, an innovative tool to help identify gaps in a three-dimensional digital environment prior to experimental assembly.
Through this advanced design tool, the program expects
to realize cost savings and greater efficiency that can
minimize delays in final assembly of the aircraft.
“The virtual reality tool allows the team to find
production 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.”
within the engineering labs at Sikorsky’s main manufacturing
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
computers, which comprise the “command center” for operating the
will enhance the designer’s ability to design an aircraft that
is easier to maintain. Designers will no longer have to rely on
their imaginations to understand assembly and maintenance
issues. They will be able to experience them long before parts
are fabricated,” said Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president,
research and engineering.
Jarvi, Sikorsky vice president, Navy/Marine Corps programs,
added: “The joint Sikorsky/Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
CH-53K helicopter program team is working diligently to deliver
a high quality platform that will be extremely important to the
Marine Corps future heavy lift mission. The virtual reality
center is the final tool in the CH-53K digital design suite, as
the team collaborates to use proven and mature technologies that
will significantly expand the fleet’s abilities.”
Sikorsky Aircraft received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract in April 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 $1.1 billion.
The CH-53K 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 “hot high” 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.
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