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Wed, Sep 24, 2003

BAE Systems Developing Fly-by-Wire Flight Control for Sikorsky S-92, H-92 Helos

BAE SYSTEMS Aerospace Controls will develop and manufacture a fly-by-wire flight control system for Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.'s S-92 medium-lift helicopter and its military derivative, the H-92 SUPERHAWK. The fly-by-wire system will weigh far less than the conventional mechanical control systems used in most rotorcraft, decrease overall life-cycle operating and maintenance costs, and enhance safety, survivability, and mission effectiveness by reducing pilot workload.

Under the agreement, BAE SYSTEMS also becomes Sikorsky's preferred supplier for future fly-by-wire systems.

"As rotorcraft manufacturers turn increasingly to fly-by-wire technology, we are proud to provide Sikorsky with the benefit of our more than 25 years of experience in this area," said Mike Austill, vice president of BAE SYSTEMS Aerospace Controls. The company provides fly-by-wire systems for military aircraft including the RAH-66 Comanche, C-17 Globemaster III, F/A-18 Hornet, and JAS 39 Gripen, and also for the Boeing 777 commercial jet.

The S-92 and H-92 fly-by-wire flight control systems will consist of a flight control computer, two pilot control sticks, and sensors for processing pitch, roll, and yaw data.

"Piloting a helicopter is an inherently labor-intensive job, but use of fly-by-wire technology will substantially reduce operator work load, freeing the crew to tend to its primary job, whether it's safely delivering passengers or carrying out a military mission," Austill said.

The fly-by-wire system will significantly decrease weight and increase the helicopter's flying range and/or boost its lift capacity.

The S-92 took its first flight in December 1998 and achieved FAA certification in 2002. An evolution of Sikorsky's S-70 U.S. Army BLACK HAWK and Navy SEAHAWK helicopters, it is available in a 19-seat passenger commercial configuration, a 22-troop utility version, and a number of mission-specific configurations including search and rescue and government and VIP transportation. The S-92 earned the aerospace industry's highest honor for 2002 -- the Robert J. Collier Trophy -- for its breakthrough design in the areas of safety, performance, and operating costs.

The H-92 SUPERHAWK, unveiled at this year's Paris Air Show, is a multi-mission helicopter being designed to provide unprecedented levels of safety, reliability, maintainability, and mission flexibility. The platform is Sikorsky's candidate for the impending replacement program for Marine One, the U.S. presidential transport mission.

In addition, the U.S. Air Force has identified a combat search and rescue (CSAR) version of the SUPERHAWK as the preferred alternative for an upcoming program to replace more than 100 PAVE HAWK aircraft.

FMI: www.sikorsky.com, www.na.baesystems.com

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