Navy Gray Paint Goes ’Green’ In Helicopter Coating Trial
A new production CH-60S for the U.S. Navy received a coat of paint that may set an industry standard in environmentally friendly finishes.
Sikorsky, November 17, 2000 - STRATFORD, Conn. - A new Sikorsky helicopter for the U.S. Navy received a coat of paint that may set an industry standard in environmentally friendly finishes.
The three-shade flat, haze gray coats were sprayed on a new Navy CH-60S Fleet Combat Support helicopter at Sikorsky’s main facility here. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that contribute to air pollution are absent from the paint. The new coating eliminates chemicals that have been targeted by the federal government for reduction or elimination wherever possible.
After the helicopter is delivered to the Navy at the end of this year, the coating will be evaluated in the fleet to ensure it continues to meet stringent Military Standard requirements. A positive evaluation by the Navy could lead to adoption of the zero-VOC paint in Navy production at Sikorsky. The company is also exploring the use of zero-VOC coatings with other customers.
"Our commitment to a better environment is more than just words," said Sikorsky President Dean Borgman. "We are living up to the promise of United Technologies Corporation to accept nothing less than unmatched protection of the natural environment in our processes."
The zero-VOC paint was developed and provided by Deft Coatings, Inc., of Irvine, Calif., which also supplies the standard paint for U.S. Navy helicopters at Sikorsky. In addition to containing no hazardous air pollutants, the coating offers a significant weight reduction -- always a positive attribute in aviation -- compared to the current paint. The paint is also non-flammable.
"Normal EPA-compliant aircraft coatings currently used by Sikorsky contain about three and one-half pounds of VOC per gallon. This new paint has zero VOC.," said Robert J. Araujo, Manager - Environmental Engineering for Sikorsky.
The Navy intends to buy more than 200 new CH-60S aircraft. Additionally, Sikorsky anticipates upgrading more than 250 existing U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopters into the new SH-60R variant. Seahawks will also continue to be manufactured for international customers.
The first production CH-60S completed its first flight on January 27, 2000 at Stratford. Six aircraft have been delivered. The CH-60S represents the first newly designed rotary-wing aircraft added to the U.S. Navy fleet since the HH-60H was introduced a decade ago. It also marks a return of U.S. Navy production at Sikorsky. U.S. Navy H-60 new helicopter deliveries came to a close in 1996 with the successful fulfillment of Navy Seahawk requirements.
The CH-60S is an amalgam of the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter and its Seahawk variant. It is a baseline Black Hawk configuration with Seahawk engines, rotor system and dynamics, including the Seahawk's automatic rotor blade folding system, folding tail pylon, improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and automatic flight control computer.
Versatility is the basic design concept of the CH-60S helicopter, which will be called upon for multi-mission naval operations including vertical replenishment, vertical on-board delivery, amphibious and carrier search and rescue, and remote site logistics missions. The Navy is expected to capitalize on CH-60S capabilities by expanding into future missions such as airborne mine counter measures, combat search and rescue, and special warfare support, utilizing a variety of mission systems.
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