Sikorsky X2 Technology™ Demonstrator Wins Prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy

martes, 15 de marzo de 2011

STRATFORD, Connecticut - The Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. X2 Technology™ demonstrator team has been named the winner of the 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy, awarded annually to recognize the greatest achievements in aeronautics or astronautics in America. It is the 100th Collier Trophy to be awarded since the inception of the prize. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

The award, considered to be the one of the greatest honors to be bestowed in the American aviation industry, recognizes achievements that improve the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.

The recognition comes six months after the X2 Technology demonstrator successfully achieved a speed of 250 knots true air speed in level flight, setting an unofficial speed record for a helicopter and accomplishing the program’s ultimate speed milestone. The Collier Trophy will be formally presented at the Annual Collier Dinner to be held on May 5 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

“This is a tremendous honor that recognizes the hard work, dedication, skill and vision of many people,” said Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino. “Sikorsky has a long and storied history of innovation, starting with the invention of the world’s first practical helicopter and continuing today with X2 Technology and the exciting new possibilities it opens for our company and our industry.”

Robert J. Collier was an aviator, humanitarian, and sportsman who commissioned the trophy that bears his name in 1910 with the intent to encourage the American aviation community to strive for excellence and achievement in aeronautic development, according to the National Aeronautic Association web site. Previous Collier Trophy winners comprise a veritable “Who’s Who” of aviation excellence including Orville Wright, Chuck Yeager, and the F-22 Raptor Team. Among the Collier committee members to interview Sikorsky X2 team members earlier this week about the demonstrator’s accomplishments was American astronaut Neil Armstrong.

“The entire Sikorsky Aircraft team is thrilled that the Collier Trophy committee has recognized the X2 Technology demonstrator for its game-changing technology, putting us in the highly respected company of some of the industry’s most prominent pioneers,” said Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president of research & engineering. “This is a tremendous honor for the entire Sikorsky community, and we are proud to see the X2 Technology demonstrator earn its place in aviation history.”

“As the X2 Technology program transitions to its first application, we are confident that the X2™ design has a tremendous future and is scalable for a variety of rotorcraft sizes and applications. This recognition is warm acknowledgement of the great things that can be achieved when the spirit of innovation and dedication to the task are the foundation,” Miller added.

“The X2 Technology demonstrator program set out to accomplish four key performance objectives: low single pilot work load, low vibration, low acoustic signature, and speed – defined as cruise at 250 knots,” said Jim Kagdis, program manager for Sikorsky’s Advanced Programs. “There was a fifth key objective that remains a driving force to all that we do at Sikorsky: to preserve the legacy and pioneering spirit of our company founder, Igor Sikorsky, and to educate and inspire the next generation of engineers and aviation professionals. The Collier Trophy exemplifies this fifth objective, so it is hugely rewarding for the team to stand recognized for upholding the basic tenets on which Sikorsky Aircraft was founded. I am extremely proud of the team and our accomplishment.”

The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed.

Among the innovative technologies the X2 Technology demonstrator employs are:
Fly-by-wire flight controls
Counter-rotating rigid rotor blades
Hub drag reduction
Active vibration control
Integrated auxiliary propulsion system

As a “follow-on” to the successful X2 program, Sikorsky Aircraft is continuing development of the next-generation rotary wing technology by launching the S-97™ RAIDER™ program. Sikorsky and select suppliers will design, build, and fly two prototype light tactical helicopters. These prototype vehicles will enable the U.S. armed forces to experience, first hand, the advanced performance capabilities X2 Technology can provide.

Like the X2 Technology demonstrator, the S-97 RAIDER helicopter will feature twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller. In addition to flying at nearly twice the speed of a conventional helicopter, the S-97 RAIDER prototype aircraft will incorporate other key performance parameters critical to combat operations — increased maneuverability, greater endurance, and the ability to operate at high altitudes.

The X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and full funding for the program’s development. Key suppliers for the X2 Technology demonstrator are:
Eagle Aviation Technologies, LLC.: Main rotor blades, miscellaneous composite hardware
Goodrich Corporation: SmartProbe™ air data system and engineering support
Hamilton Sundstrand Corp.: Flight Control Computers, Active vibration control, engineering support
LHTEC (Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company, a partnership between Rolls-Royce/Honeywell): Engines, engineering support
Moog, Inc.: Active vibration actuation, Consignment MU/EU components, engineering support
Rotating Composite Technologies, LLC: Pusher propeller

Over the past two years, Sikorsky’s X2 Technology demonstrator has received several accolades including the 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Innovator Award, a 2009 “Best of What’s New” award from Popular Science, and was named “One of 2009’s Best Inventions” by Time magazine. In January 2010, Aviation Week named it “One of the Top 10 Technologies to Watch,” and was a finalist in the 2010 Aviation Week Laureate Awards category of Aeronautics and Propulsion.

The X2 Technology demonstrator’s Collier Trophy award marks the second time a Sikorsky team has been awarded the esteemed trophy. In 2002, the S-92® helicopter and its program team won the award. The trophy recognized the S-92 helicopter team for designing, manufacturing, testing and introducing into service the S-92 helicopter, which raised “across-the-board” standards for rotary wing air travel.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.



International Aero Engines Launches SelectTwo™ Program (new engines for A320family)

International Aero Engines AG (IAE) has announced the launch of its next generation V2500 engine — V2500 SelectTwo™.

An upgrade option for the V2500 SelectOne™, SelectTwo is projected to provide 0.58% fuel burn savings compared to the V2500 SelectOne engine for a 500 nautical mile A320 mission. SelectTwo is comprised of a software upgrade for the Electronic Engine Control (EEC) as well as a new data entry plug (DEP).

"SelectTwo is the latest example of how IAE effectively strives for new methodologies that enhance value to our customers," explained Ian Aitken, IAE President & CEO. "We are fully committed to providing substantial support and continued investment in the V2500."

For a 10 aircraft Airbus A320 fleet flying 2300 flights per year, this upgrade equates to savings of $4.3M USD over 10 years at current fuel prices, and 14,800 tons of CO2. Additionally, V2500 SelectTwo remains compliant with the most stringent CAEP/6 NOx standards.

SelectTwo is now available as a Sales Order Option for V2500-A5 SelectOne engines. Entry into service is planned in 2013 after a rigorous validation testing and certification program. IAE is working with Airbus on a flight test that is to be completed this year.

With more than 190 customers in over 70 countries, the IAE V2500 attracts customers as the most cost effective engine on the A320 Family. It is available in seven different thrust settings, from 22,000 to 33,000lb, to power the Airbus A319, A320 and A321 family of aircraft as well as the Airbus Corporate Jetliner.

IAE is a global aero engine consortium whose shareholders are comprised of Pratt & Whitney (NYSE: UTX), Rolls-Royce (RR.L), Japanese Aero Engines Corporation and MTU Aero Engines.



Northrop Grumman Launches Integrated Assembly Line. Automated Production Line Designed to Enhance Affordability, Quality, Efficiency

PALMDALE, Calif., March 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) took a significant step in transitioning the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to full-rate production with the March 1 start-up of the company's integrated assembly line (IAL) in Palmdale.

In a ceremony for employees, company officials cut the ribbon on the new IAL and began utilizing the line later in the day. Inspired by automation systems used by automakers, the IAL was designed and developed by Northrop Grumman, working with Detroit-based KUKA Systems Corporation's Aerospace Division, a commercial automation integrator.

"Starting the integrated assembly line is an important step, but it's just the first among several that will lead to a streamlined, efficient system that will help produce the most capable, most advanced multi-role fighter in the world," said Mark Tucker, vice president, F-35 program, Northrop Grumman Corporation. "The IAL will be the key factor in the future production of this aircraft."

The new IAL occupies a space near the current F-35 assembly line in Northrop Grumman's Palmdale Manufacturing Center and includes automatic assembly tool systems, transportation systems and manufacturing systems, all controlled centrally and wirelessly by a factory communications system. The company anticipates it will produce its first entire fuselage early in 2012. Until then, work will continue using both the IAL and existing line.

"Since the very beginning, Northrop Grumman's role in producing the world's most advanced fighter has included highly trained personnel and high-precision systems, and the IAL carries on this mission," said Tommy Tomlinson, sector vice president, production operations, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector.

Tomlinson also noted that 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the start of operations at the Palmdale facility.

"We're beginning a new era of production, and it's fitting that it's taking place during such a milestone year for the Palmdale facility," Tomlinson said.

At its heart, the IAL is designed to drive new levels of efficiency into the manufacturing process, an endeavor that includes reducing process times, increasing precision and quality, and reducing the costs of production.

"Our industry partner and our military customer are striving now more than ever before to improve the overall affordability of our products and services, and the IAL represents a major step forward for us in this effort," said Duke Dufresne, sector vice president and general manager of the Strike and Surveillance Systems Division of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "As innovative as this line is, and as game-changing as we predict it will be in the future when it's operating at full capacity, we'll still continue to look for ways to improve how we do things."

As a principal and founding member of the F-35 industry team led by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman is responsible for the design and production of center fuselages for all three variants of F-35 aircraft: conventional takeoff and landing; short takeoff, vertical landing; and the carrier variant.

All F-35 center fuselages currently are being assembled in Palmdale. In addition to producing the F-35 center fuselage, Northrop Grumman also designed and produces the aircraft's radar and other key avionics including electro-optical and communications subsystems; develops mission systems and mission-planning software; leads the team's development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware; and manages the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies.

To date, Northrop Grumman has delivered 42 center fuselages. Final assembly of all F-35 jets is performed by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, a process that includes mating the center fuselage to an aft fuselage produced by BAE systems; and the forward fuselage, cockpit and wings produced by Lockheed Martin.



Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Earns Navy Initial Operating Capability designation ahead of schedule

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (March 13, 2011) -  Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that the U.S. Marine Corps' newest attack helicopter, the AH-1Z Cobra, achieved Initial Operating Capability ahead of schedule in February.

"The AH-1Z is a magnificent machine and I am thrilled that the Zulu has now been designated ready for combat." said John L Garrison, president Bell Helicopter. "The partnership between Bell Helicopter and the Navy-Marine Corp team demonstrates that we are both fully committed to providing world class equipment for our warfighters."

The U.S. Marine Corps is replacing the two-bladed AH-1W with the AH-1Z, which features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, two additional wing stores stations on larger stub wings, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit. The AH-1Z will see a 120% increase mission radius with attack payload over the AH-1W.

As part of the H-1 Upgrade Program, the AH-1Z replaces the currently fielded AH-1W. The AH-1Z will serve a primary role in assault support, offensive air support and air reconnaissance. The Zulu will play a supporting role in anti-air warfare, electronic warfare, and control of aircraft and missiles.

"Getting the AH-1Z to IOC has been a huge achievement for the entire team," said Col. Harry Hewson, program manager for U.S. Marine Corps Light and Attack Helicopters. "Now we get to put the Zulu in the hands of the Marines and prove that it is indeed the most capable marinized attack helicopter in the world."

The H-1 Upgrade Program offers 84 percent commonality of major component parts between the AH-1Z and UH-1Y utility helicopters. This commonality reduces lifecycle and training costs and decreases the expeditionary logistics footprint for both aircraft.

The new Zulus feature 10,000 flight-hour airframes, a new four-bladed rotor system with semi-automatic blade fold of the new composite rotor blades, new performance matched transmissions, a new four-bladed tail rotor and drive system, upgraded landing gear, and pylon structural modifications. This will help the new Zulu to achieve a 39% increase in HOGE  useful load over its predecessor. The Zulu also incorporates modernized, fully integrated cockpits/avionics that will reduce operator work load while improving situational awareness while being able to carry 32% more fuel.

The AH-1Z is equipped with two General Electric T700-GE-401 series engines and greatly increased lift capability and stores capacity, giving it a significantly greater ordnance payload for future growth potential. The primary weapon system is the Hellfire missile. It is fully shipboard compatible, and capable of operating from prepared or unprepared landing sites, day or night.

"The expeditionary agility that the Yankee/Zulu package brings to the Marine Air/Ground Task Force is exactly what the Marine Corps needs as we continue to fight two wars and conduct numerous other engagements in every clime and place," Hewson said. "I am proud to be a part of the team that is making that happen."



Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Completes Final Gauntlet Test

EVERETT, Wash., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has completed final gauntlet testing on the first 747-8 Intercontinental jetliner. The two days of testing were completed late Sunday. "The team continues to do great work to get the 747-8 Intercontinental into the air," said Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager, 747 program. "It'll be a great day for the team when the airplane flies."

Gauntlet testing simulates flight conditions to test systems and ensure flight readiness. During the testing, Boeing test pilots put the airplane through its paces. See how extensive the testing is in this video: Gauntlet testing is a crucial step in the path toward first flight.

First flight of the 747-8 Intercontinental will occur after final flight readiness reviews, receipt of documentation from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and taxi testing. Both taxi testing and first flight are subject to weather conditions.