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Sikorsky has selected Lord to supply components for demonstration of the zero-vibration technology onboard the US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk multi-mission helicopter.

Sikorsky Innovations had signed an agreement with the US Army Aviation Development Directorate (ADD)-Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) to boost survivability and durability of Black Hawk fleet as part of the combat tempered platform demonstration (CTPD) programme.

Under the CTPD, Lord will supply a hub-mounted vibration suppressor (HMVS) system that can be used to actively cancel in-plane vibration and a cabin-based active vibration control system for cancellation of residual vibration.

Claimed to be capable of actively cancelling rotor-induced vibration at its source at blade-pass frequency, the HMVS system enhances aircraft performance, affordability and sustainability, while ensuring a smoother flight.

Lord Aerospace and Defense’s business development manager, Doug Leroy, said the HMVS technology offers better vibration control performance at less than half the weight of passive treatments.

"The technology is also more compact and provides a smaller aerodynamic footprint,” LeRoy said.

Sikorsky Research and Engineering vice-president Mark Miller said the HMVS technology will make occupants experience less fatigue and enhanced safety.

"The HMVS technology offers better vibration control performance at less than half the weight of passive treatments.;

”Operating costs will decrease because equipment will last longer in a virtually zero-vibration environment," Miller said.

HMVS system has already been tested on a static helicopter fuselage with simulated loading conditions, and provided a greater than 90% reduction in vibration levels at a lighter weight than the existing passive systems.

The hub-mounted vibration suppressor comprises motorised imbalanced rotors to create centrifugal forces, in addition to force generator, controller, sensors and power electronics.

CTPD aims to advance and integrate a zero-vibration system, adaptive flight control laws, advanced fire management, durable main rotor, full-spectrum crashworthiness, and a damage tolerant airframe, to demonstrate an operationally durable and total survivable platform solution that can be applied to UH-60 upgrades and future vertical lift (FVL) programme.

Image: A US Army UH-60 Black hawk helicopter flies a low-level mission over Iraq. Photo: courtesy of USAF.

Defence Technology