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LORD Corporation Selected by Sikorsky to Help Modernize the UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter

( 10/22/2013 )

By: Kimberly Kayler , 614-873-6706 (Cary, NC)

LORD Corporation has been selected to be a member of the U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate (ADD) - Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) and Sikorsky Innovations team to demonstrate zero-vibration technology on the U.S. Army's UH-60 BLACK HAWK helicopter.

Sikorsky and ADD-AATD entered into an agreement to enhance survivability and durability of the BLACK HAWK fleet as part of the Combat Tempered Platform Demonstration (CTPD). This project advances and integrates key technologies including a zero-vibration system, adaptive flight control laws, advanced fire management, durable main rotor, full-spectrum crashworthiness, and a damage tolerant airframe. The goal is to demonstrate an operationally durable and total survivable platform solution that could be applied to UH-60 upgrades and Future Vertical Lift (FVL).

LORD was selected to provide components that will demonstrate a zero-vibration helicopter concept in flight.  Under CTPD, LORD will provide a hub-mounted vibration suppressor (HMVS) system that will be used to actively cancel in-plane vibration and a cabin based active vibration control system to cancel residual vibration. Designed to reduce weight, eliminate vibration and deliver a smoother helicopter ride, the HMVS system seeks to actively cancel rotor-induced vibration at its source.

"HMVS Technology provides better vibration control performance at less than half the weight of passive treatments," said Doug LeRoy, Business Development Manager, Aerospace & Defense - America, LORD Corporation. "The technology is also more compact and provides a smaller aerodynamic footprint. LORD is excited to participate on this project and demonstrate our most advanced technology and capability that will improve aircraft performance, affordability and sustainability."

Currently, helicopter OEMs use passive treatments on the rotor hub. In contrast, this technology actively attacks vibration originating from the rotor blades at the blade-pass frequency. During forward flight, the asymmetry associated with advancing and retreating blades in a free stream air flow leads to significant vibratory loads on the helicopter hub. Blade Vortex Interaction (BVI), which is the condition during which each blade must crash through the turbulent wake of the blade in front of it, also contributes to vibration at the blade pass frequency.

"Vibration, even at the low levels, takes a toll on crew and passengers as well as the aircraft," said Mark Miller, Vice President, Sikorsky Research and Engineering. "With the HMVS breakthrough technology, occupants will experience less fatigue and enhanced safety. In addition, operating costs will decrease because equipment will last longer in a virtually zero-vibration environment."

Under a previous project in which the system was tested on a static helicopter fuselage with simulated loading conditions, the system provided greater than 90 percent reduction in vibration levels at a lighter weight than current passive systems.

The hub-mounted vibration suppressor consists of motorized imbalanced rotors that rotate at the blade-pass frequency to create centrifugal forces. Through phasing of the rotors, the magnitude and orientation of the centrifugal forces can be made to cancel in-plane hub vibration. The system is completely self-contained, meaning that the force generator, controller, sensors and power electronics all reside within a single unit.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting LORD Corporation by email at customer.support@lord.com or by phone at +1 877 ASK LORD (275 5673).

About Sikorsky

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), is based in Stratford, Conn., and 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.