1384. CH-53E Combat Survivability Assessment and Survivability Enhancement Program


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J J Morrow: 1384. CH-53E Combat Survivability Assessment and Survivability Enhancement Program. 1980.



This paper presents the results of two sequential programs directed towards the definition of an optimized helicopter configuration in which combat survivability is considered as a major criterion in evaluating the overall effectiveness of the helicopter. The first program was the assessment of the helicopter to determine the configuration, subsystem and component characteristics and features that would result in potential attrition when exposed to hostile weapons. The second program was a tradeoff study to quantify and rank combat survivability enhancement concepts and develop a set of design change recommendations for action by the Program Manager.
In general, survivability enhancement results in penalties in the form of increased weight, cost, complexity, maintenance or other factors that impact the life cycle cost of the system. For a helicopter, as for any other vertical lift aircraft, weight is extremely critical. Net thrust is fixed by the propulsion system and any increases in the empty weight of the helicopter must come out of either payload or fuel. For this reason, weight was the driving parameter in this program and the recommended configuration changes are ones that result in high ratios of vulnerability reduction to incremental weight increase. The paper traces the processes and procedures used in both the survivability assessment and the tradeoff study. It also illustrates several light weight survivability enhancement concepts and emphasizes the point that survivabi1iy enhancement is far beyond the heavy, brute force approach of armor application for most of the critical systems of the helicopter.


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