ITT Corp. has handed over the first major structural subassembly for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K heavy lift helicopter to Sikorsky’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla. The delivery of the initial sponson—a 25 x 4 x 5-foot structure that attaches to each side of the helicopter and houses landing gear, fuel and other components—comes after three years of design and development using various composite materials to meet weight and structural requirements set out by the military.
Mike Therson, general manger of composite structures, says that ITT used a paperless software application known as life cycle analysis (LCA) to design the sponson under a joint effort with Sikorsky. The two companies followed a “100 percent integrated process” to meet the military’s guidelines for structural performance and weight, among other requirements. “We spent a considerable amount of time at their facility and they spent considerable time at our facility, so it worked both ways,” he explains. (From January 2011 Rotorcraft Report)