Hamilton Sundstrand has been selected to provide fly-by-wire (FBW) flight-control computers and actuators for the modernised Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. The US Army is to buy more than 1,200 new-build UH-60Ms, with FBW to be introduced into production in 2009.

The contract is expected to be worth almost $300 million to Hamilton Sundstrand. It is the company’s first FBW production contract and the UH-60M will be the first production fly-by-wire helicopter for the US military. The army had planned a common digital flight-control system for the UH-60M and Boeing AH-64D, but decided the schedule for development of the Block 3 upgrade of the Apache attack helicopter was too aggressive to allow the introduction of FBW.

Sikorsky received a $245 million contract for the first low-rate production batch of 22 UH-60Ms this month, with deliveries to begin in July next year. About 100 helicopters are expected to be built before FBW is cut into production.

The UH-60M fly-by-wire system will be triplex-redundant, with main rotor actuators supplied by UK subsidiary Claverham. Hamilton Sundstrand has produced all Black Hawk stability-augmentation systems, including the dual-digital automatic flight control system now in the UH-60M. The company is producing the digital flight controls for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with BAE Systems, which is developing the FBW system for Sikorsky’s H-92 helicopter.

  •  Boeing has begun flight testing BAE’s digital automatic flight-control system for the upgraded CH-47F Chinook helicopter.

BAE has also begun deliveries to Boeing of flight-control computers for the C-17 transport’s modernised electronic flight-control system.

Source: Flight International