3166. SH-60R Helicopter Overview with an Investigation into In-service Weight Growth


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James Wampach: 3166. SH-60R Helicopter Overview with an Investigation into In-service Weight Growth. 2001.



The SH-60R is a medium-sized ship-based naval helicopter designed to replace the aging SH-60B Seahawk. Like the SH-60B, the main mission of the SH-60R is to extend the sensor range of frigates for anti-submarine warfare, as well as performing anti-surface vessel surveillance and targeting. The SH-60R multi-mission helicopter has upgraded avionics including the Lockheed/Martin LAMPS MK III Block II Upgrade. In addition to the avionics upgrade, the SH-60R will have a strengthened airframe to allow for increased gross take-off weights and extended life. Improvements in avionics and airframe will allow the new SH-60R multi mission helicopter to provide increased battle group protection and add significant capability in coastal and regional conflicts.
The SH-60R is a key part of the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Master Plan, which calls for the integration of all helicopter types and models. The SH-60R has been chosen to replace all of the SH-60B and SH-GOF aircraft currently in service. Replacing these models with one reconfigurable SH-60R will reduce costs associated with naval helicopter operations.
As part of this cost reduction effort, the SH-60R will utilize components from existing SH-60B aircraft removed from the fleet. Thus, the SH-60R will be a ‘remanufactured’ aircraft as opposed to an all-new aircraft. The tail cone, vertical tail, dynamic system, and several hundred other components from the inducted GFE aircraft will be reused and reassembled into the new SH-60R cockpit/cabin sections.
The reuse of a large number of parts previously in service presents a challenge for the weight control engineer which is unique to a remanufacture type program. Parts that have been fielded for years are likely to have experienced weight growth due to field repairs, moisture accumulation, dirt, paint, maintenance, etc. Quantifying the weight impact of this in-service growth when preparing a weight derivation for this type of program is not a well-documented process. Short of weighing every GFE part, how can a weight control engineer account for this expected variation?
The first section of this paper will be an overview of the SH-60R helicopter remanufacturing program describing the basic aircraft configuration and primary missions. Emphasis will be placed on aircraft weight control history from design to initial production.
The second section of this paper is an investigation into in-service weight growth. In-service weight growth is any unplanned increase in part weight as a result of field use. Various approaches to account for in-service weight growth will be discussed, as well as providing a method for estimating this weight growth based on results obtained from the SH-60R program. It is hoped that the lessons learned from work done on the SH-60R program will aid mass properties engineers efforts in the future.


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