The first prototype of a CH-53K heavy lift helicopter being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. for the Navy is ready for ground testing, the Stratford-based company announced Dec. 4.
The prototype, known as a ground test vehicle (GTV), was developed as part of a $3.5 billion system development and demonstration contract with the Navy that also includes the development of four flight test helicopters, which Sikorsky projects will be ready for testing in 2014 and 2015.
The GTV will now undergo hundreds of hours of powered ground tests at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Fla. assembly and flight operations facility.
“The primary purpose of the GTV is to shake out the CH-53K helicopter’s dynamic systems by thoroughly testing and measuring the performance of the rotor blades, transmission and engines while the aircraft is tied to the ground,” said Michael Torok, Sikorsky’s CH-53K program vice president. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp.