Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies, has awarded a contract to aerospace technology firm ITT Exelis to manufacture composite tail rotor blade components for the S-76D medium-twin helicopter.
Work for the contract, valued at more than $15 million, will be carried out at the new Exelis composite design and manufacturing center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Under the contract, ITT Exelis will fabricate key structures of the S-76D composite tail rotor blade assembly such as the blades, the composite laminate beam, which bears the load of tail rotors, and additional hardware required for final assembly.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW210S engines, the medium-twin rotorcraft features all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades, an advanced avionics system and autopilot integrated by Thales, as well as a health and usage monitoring system, and active vibration control.
ITT Exelis literature states that composite materials in the tail rotor blade assembly help reduce the weight of the aircraft, improve reliability and lowers noise impact on passengers and communities where it operates.
ITT Exelis Aerostructures business Vice President and General Manager, Mike Blair, says: "Composite structures are increasingly used by commercial and military aircraft manufacturers to make aircraft lighter, more fuel efficient and more durable."
A spokesman says the company is well positioned to achieve the production rates required by the S-76D program using its expanded manufacturing capacity, precision composite fabrication and machining expertise, and final part finishing capability.
Exelis, which is a long-standing supplier to Sikorsky, also fabricates composite structures for the commercial S-76C platform and the US Marine Corps' heavy lift helicopter, the CH-53K.