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Sikorsky S-92

Medium-Lift Multirole Transport Helicopter

International partners were needed by Sikorsky to bring the S-92 product to market - over 200 have since been built for multiple parties the worldover.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 8/21/2019
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Year: 2004
Status: Active, In-Service
Manufacturer(s): Sikorsky Aircraft - USA
Production: 205
Capabilities: Navy/Maritime; Transport; Commercial Market; VIP Transport; Search and Rescue (SAR);
Crew: 3
Length: 56.10 ft (17.1 m)
Width: 56.33 ft (17.17 m)
Height: 15.45 ft (4.71 m)
Weight (Empty): 15,498 lb (7,030 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 26,500 lb (12,020 kg)
Power: 2 x General Electric CT7-8A turboshaft engines developing 2,520 horsepower each while driving a four-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.
Speed: 190 mph (305 kph; 165 kts)
Ceiling: 14,009 feet (4,270 m; 2.65 miles)
Range: 621 miles (1,000 km; 540 nm)
Operators: Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Brunei; Canada; China; Ireland; Japan; Kuwait; Mexico; Norway; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; South Korea; Thailand; Turkey; Turkmenistan; United Kingdom; United States
In 2004, Sikorsky introduced its latest helicopter market entry through the S-92 medium-lift helicopter product. The helicopter was developed to succeed the aging and outgoing line of S-3 series helicopters and has since been built in over 200 examples serving civilian, military and governmental entities. Some high-profile variants have also been born from the base S-92 design.

Development of the S-92 achieved momentum during the early 1990s when a mockup was revealed at the time. However, faced with an economic downturn in the international helicopter market, Sikorsky was forced to pull back the reigns of the S-92 project and sought international help in bringing the product to market. The group - involving Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) of Japan, Gamesa of Spain, Jingdezhen of China, Taiwan Aerospace, Embraer of Brazil, and MIL of Russia - became known as "Team S-92" and the S-92 program was officially launched during the 1995 Paris Air Show.

The S-92 was designed upon several key proven components and qualities seen in the earlier H-60 family helicopters (the H-60 forming the basis of the successful UH-60 "Black Hawk" family). At least 40% of the new aircraft's construction involved composites. A ramp with applicable access was fitted to the fuselage rear for expediting loading / unloading of cargo. The cockpit was all-modern with four large LCD panels and sat its crew of two in a side-by-side arrangement. The passenger area could be reworked to seat between nineteen and twenty-two depending on seating configuration or cleared out altogether to haul cargo containers. The twin turboshaft engine arrangement was used to power a four-bladed composite main rotor with a four-bladed tail rotor seated to starboard. The elevated tail stem provided good clearance and access to the loading ramp underneath. The tricycle wheeled undercarriage was made fully-retractable into the airframe.

Two major variants ultimately emerged - one intended for the civilian market and the other for military service. The S-92 became the civilian market form (originally known as the S-92C "Helibus") and has since found a few notable homes worldwide, generally as part of airlines or offshore oil drilling companies. Operators have been seen in Brunei, Canada, China, Norway, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United States. Additionally, this model has been accepted as a governmental support transport aircraft as witnessed by the growing collection of operators committed to it - from Azerbaijan and Bahrain to Turkey and Turkmenistan.

The H-92 "Superhawk" is the military offering and has been completed with uprated General Electric CT7-8C series turboshaft engines of 3,070 horsepower (each) for the rigors of military service. The aircraft also carries a digital Fly-By-Wire (FBW) control scheme which is absent in the base S-92 form.

The United States Marine Corps have ordered a stock of six helicopters to modify it for the "Marine One" Presidential transport role under the "VH-92" designation. Funding for some twenty-three of this model were covered in the U.S. Navy's 2015 budget. The S-92 originally faced off against the Lockheed VH-71 "Kestrel" and lost the Marine One ("VXX") competition. However, as the VH-71 suffered delays and cost overruns during its protracted development, the competition was reopened in 2010 and Sikorsky handed in the only bid - therefore they were announced the winner of VXX in May of 2014 while the Kestrel product was cancelled (nine were built and subsequently sold off to Canada).

The Sikorsky CH-148 "Cyclone" is a Canadian military offshoot of the militarized Superhawk. While a first-flight was held back in November of 2008 (official delivery was to occur that month), the program has suffered from consistent setbacks during its development phase. Only six have been produced to date (2016) of the 28 systems on order.

Other global military operators of the S-92 family include Kuwait (Air Force) and South Korea (Air Force).

Program Updates

February 2019 - It was announced that an unnamed Mexican oil-and-gas industry customer has ordered an unspecified number of S-92 helicopters from Sikorsky.

August 2019 - Brazil has approved/certified a Search and Rescue (SAR) variant of the Sikorsky S-92. This now completes the possibility that the helicopter can be sold in its various forms across various Brazil civilian and commercial industries.



Variants / Models

• S-92 - Base Model Designation
• S-92A - Civilian market model with variable passenger seating or cargo-hauling capability.
• H-92 "Superhawk" - Military model; outfitted with uprated CT7-8C turboshaft engines of 3,070 horsepower and Fly-By-Wire control scheme; SAR kit available for Search / Rescue function.
• VH-92 - U.S. Navy / Marine model for Presidential VIP transport.
• CH-148 "Cyclone" - Canadian military model based on the S-92.
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