LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Sikorsky has been, for the most part, smoothly integrating with new parent company Lockheed Martin [LMT], except for a few hiccups in information technology (IT) systems, according to Sikorsky CEO Dan Schultz.
Schultz told sister publication Defense Daily March 2 Sikorsky has a dedicated team of roughly 25 to 30 people working solely on synergies and integration issues between Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin, including “mechanical” and IT issues. Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp. [UTX] in November.
“We augment (this team) with other people coming in when we have different skills we…require,” Schultz said at the 2016 Heli-Expo conference. “Initially, we had to understand each other’s systems, but that’s going better today.”
Schultz believes Sikorsky is seeing real advantages from Lockheed Martin being an original equipment manufacturing (OEM). He said, until now, Sikorsky never really had an opportunity to work with an OEM to demonstrate innovation and capability in mission systems and other technologies it develops to go on helicopters. Schultz specifically cited the S-97 Raider, which features twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors (in place of one main rotor and a tail rotor) and a pusher propeller. Sikorsky is marketing the S-97 Raider as the next-generation in military aviation.
“We’re bringing all that technology we have into these OEM platforms where we’ve never had that opportunity before,” Schultz said. “That’s pretty exciting.”
Sikorsky is also preparing for an April preliminary design review (PDR) for the Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) program. Company spokeswoman Jennifer Forlenza said March 1 in an email Sikorsky successfully concluded a number of key reviews in 2015, including a training system requirements review, a system functional review, an air vehicle system functional review and a system requirement review.
Once Sikorsky successfully passes PDR, it will turn its focus toward a critical design review (CDR) set for July 2017. Schultz told reporters March 1 the program was on track for initial deliveries in fiscal year 2019, though he was mum on further program details. A 2014 Sikorsky statement announcing the contract award said initial deliveries were set for 2020.
“It’s on track and going really well,” Schultz said.
The Air Force awarded Sikorsky a $1.3 billion engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract to develop new combat search and rescue helicopters. Sikorsky will develop a derivative of the UH-60M Black Hawk, according to a company statement. The EMD contract is fixed price incentive firm through low-rate initial production (LRIP), according to Air Force budget justification books.
The Air Force requested $319 million in fiscal year 2017 for CRH, which is formally listed in budget justification documents as CSAR HH-60 Recapitalization as it will replace the HH-60G. Including FY ’17, the Air Force expects to request $1.5 billion for CRH through FY ’21. The CRH development effort will procure a total of nine developmental test aircraft and other necessary ground and flight assets.
The exercised portion of the CRH contract also includes development of the complete CRH training system to include the weapon system trainer, operational flight trainer, airframe systems trainer, other maintenance training devices as well as Type 1 training and courseware required to perform aircrew and maintenance training.
Other efforts include, but are not limited to, development of a systems integration laboratory and an avionics integration support facility, as well as procurement of data rights and licenses, spares, initiating system demonstration test article development and product support for the EMD effort. The Air Force said CRH is listed under system development and demonstration (SDD) because it has passed Milestone B approval and is conducting EMD tasks aimed at meeting validated requirements prior to full-rate production (FRP).
EMD is expected to last through the third quarter of FY ’20 while EMD for the CRH training system is expected to eclipse the fourth quarter of FY ’20. The training system PDR is anticipated for first quarter FY ’17 while the CDR is expected in fourth quarter FY ’17. Milestone C for CRH is expected in first quarter FY ’20.
The 2014 contract was the first step in the eventual production and fielding of up to 112 aircraft with a potential value of approximately $7.9 billion. Lockheed Martin is the major subsystems supplier for CRH. Like the UH-60M, CRH will feature General Electric [GE] T700-GE-701D engines, composite wide-chord main rotor blades and fatigue- and corrosion-resistant machined aero-structures to sustain maneuverability at high density altitudes.
Sikorsky in September selected Rockwell Collins [COL] as the avionics supplier for CRH.