The S-76D™ Helicopter Program is entering production, signifying the latest major milestone in the program that is manufacturing the next generation model of the popular S-76® Helicopter. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
The first S-76D Helicopter airframe has entered production on the assembly line at Aero Vodochody (Aero) in the Czech Republic in preparation for the customer deliveries planned to begin in 2011. The first S-76D helicopter airframe – serial number 761004 – had its fuselage joined and then entered final assembly at Aero. The fuselage is scheduled to depart Aero in April 2010 for delivery to Sikorsky Global Helicopters facility in Coatesville, Penn., where final assembly and completion of the S-76D helicopters will take place.
“It has taken a tremendous amount of coordination, teamwork and dedication to reach this important milestone in the S-76D helicopter program, both within Sikorsky’s operations and with many key suppliers who have contributed to the program,” said Tim Fox, S-76D helicopter program manager. “Today we can say we are manufacturing S-76D aircraft, and we are truly excited about it.”
Sikorsky will receive S-76D Helicopter fuselages at an initial rate of one per month, beginning with the first fuselage due in April 2010. Full S-76D helicopter production rates are expected to be achieved in 2011.
The S-76D Helicopter production effort is supported by more than 30 key suppliers.
“These suppliers are committed to the program and are working collaboratively towards the delivery of the aircraft. With the airframe originating in the Czech Republic, the engines in Canada, avionics in France, and tail pylon in Turkey, to name a few components, the S-76D helicopter is truly a world citizen supported by world-class suppliers,” Fox said.
Among the S-76D Helicopter’s features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot; dual speed rotor with active vibration control; powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines; a quiet mode for enhanced public acceptance; and an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability. The S-76D helicopter also will offer an increase in useful load and extended range performance versus the S-76C+™ and S-76C++™ aircraft currently fielded.