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
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
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