Aurora Flight Sciences, April 30, 2012 - Bridgeport, WV – Aurora Flight Sciences has delivered the first pair of forward engine nacelles to Sikorsky Aircraft for assembly onto the first CH-53K prototype helicopter, the U.S. Marine Corps’ new-generation heavy lift rotorcraft.
Both nacelles will be integrated onto the CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle at Sikorsky’s Florida Assembly and Flight Operations (FAFO) facility in West Palm Beach, FL. The nacelle for the aircraft’s third engine is embedded with the aircraft’s Main Rotor Pylon, which Aurora delivered to the FAFO in 2011.
“The first CH-53K forward engine nacelle delivery was made possible by the combined effort of the Aurora and Sikorsky engineering, quality, and manufacturing teams,” said Adam Naternicola, Aurora’s CH-53K helicopter program manager. “We are privileged to play a vital role in building these heavy lift helicopters for our nation’s warfighters.”
Made from composite material, each of the three nacelles will house and protect a GE38-1B engine rated at 7,500 shaft horse power. Compared to the CH-53E SUPER STALLION™ helicopter, currently being flown by the Marine Corps, the CH-53K aircraft will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under “high hot” ambient conditions.
“Aurora is a key member of the CH-53K program team,” said Al Altieri, Sikorsky’s Vice President for Supply Management. “With the delivery of the first CH-53K engine nacelles, Aurora continues to demonstrate excellence in producing and delivering high quality composite assemblies.”
“Aurora’s business relationship with Sikorsky continues to grow, bringing skilled jobs to Bridgeport, West Virginia, while providing high quality components to our customer,” said Kevin Balsan, Aurora’s West Virginia Plant General Manager.
As prime contractor for the CH-53K program, Sikorsky leads an industry team that is designing and building five prototype aircraft and two non-flying test articles as part of a $3+ billion System Development and Demonstration contract from the U.S. Navy. First flight of the first prototype aircraft is expected in 2014.
Aurora recently was selected by Sikorsky to design and build the airframe structure for the S-97 RAIDER™ helicopter, a high speed light tactical rotorcraft Sikorsky is funding with its key suppliers for evaluation by the U.S. military. Last year, Sikorsky recognized Aurora as its “Supplier of the Year” for Aerostructures.
About Aurora Flight Sciences
Aurora Flight Sciences is a leader in the development and manufacturing of advanced aerospace vehicles. Aurora is headquartered in Manassas, VA and operates production plants in Bridgeport, WV and Columbus, MS; and a Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA