Rotorcraft Update: Biggest Sikorsky ever proposed

Aviation International News » November 2002
May 8, 2008, 5:53 AM

Nobody beats the Russians when it comes to rotorcraft “bigness.” Mil unveiled the Mi-12 in 1971 and later hoisted a record-setting 44 tons to more than 7,000 ft with the massive (115-ton mtow) twin-rotor helo.

More recently, since its introduction in 1981, the Russian-made Mil Mi-26 has reigned supreme as the heaviest cargo-lifting production rotorcraft, routinely hoisting loads weighing up to 22 tons.

The nearest thing in the Western world is Sikorsky’s CH-53E, with a max internal load capability of 15 tons, but that distinction might be set to change. Speaking at a recent rotorcraft forum in Bristol, England, Sikorsky advanced development director Chris Van Buiten took some of the wraps off the company’s new Heavy Lift Helicopter (HLH), a design that would be that manufacturer’s biggest to date. Intended for use by the proposed European Rapid Reaction Force, the new helo would have a 10- to 13-metric-ton payload, a 260-nm radius of action, unprecedented internal volume, 1,050 to 1,550-nm self-deployment range, air transportability via Airbus’ high-volume Beluga cargo lifter, rapid internal load securing and internal transport of light armored vehicles. In short, it would be a bigger helo with roughly the same payload as the CH-53E, and bigger internal dimensions. The basic HLH would consist of a marriage of the propulsion dynamics of the upgraded edition of the CH-53E Sikorsky is proposing for use by the U.S. Marine Corps, lifting an all-new, all-composite and much larger fuselage designed and built by the European industry. Van Buiten indicated that a solution along these lines would be much cheaper than developing an all-new helicopter, which he said would cost $4- to $5 billion and take 10 years.

Share this...

Please Register

In order to leave comments you will now need to be a registered user. This change in policy is to protect our site from an increased number of spam comments. Additionally, in the near future you will be able to better manage your AIN subscriptions via this registration system. If you already have an account, click here to log in. Otherwise, click here to register.