STRATFORD, Conn., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Sikorsky Aircraft says the CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Program is "Ready to Load" with the successful light-off of its first Auxiliary Power Unit engine.
The APU -- it powers a 45KVA generator, a 58-horsepower hydraulic pump and hydraulic starter -- achieved RTL condition after light-off at 100 percent speed sustained for 30 seconds, the company said.
It is used for ground operations, main engine start and conditions when main electrical power provided by the aircraft's main generators is lost. It is a critical element of the aircraft's design.
The engine is being prepared for safety of flight testing and accomplishing the on-time delivery of hardware for the ground test vehicle.
"This successful test is yet another giant step forward for the CH-53K helicopter program," said John Johnson, CH-53K helicopter program manager. "Compared to its predecessor, the CH-53E helicopter, the CH-53K helicopter will offer better durability and reliability, which translates into lower life-cycle costs for the customer."
The APU Light-Off test was conducted in San Diego at the facility of Hamilton Sundstrand, the primary supplier for the secondary power system for the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program.
Sikorsky said the entire APU development and qualification program will involve 13 engines -- seven for Hamilton Sundstrand and six for Sikorsky.
Sikorsky Aircraft received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration contract in 2006 to develop a replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter.
The new CH-53K is in SDD phase. Total production will be more than 200 aircraft.