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Sikorsky S-76

Medium-Lift Multirole Helicopter


The Sikorsky S-76, a medium-class hauler, has proven a relative commercial success for Sikorsky Aircraft with over 1,000 units produced for various markets.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Sikorsky S-76 Medium-Lift Multirole Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 11/7/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Model S-76 was developed by Sikorsky Aircraft for the ultra-competitive medium-lift commercial helicopter market. Its design was influenced by the company's work to bring the S-70 about (this becoming the famous UH-60 'Black Hawk' in military service). The product began as the "S-74" during the middle part of the 1970s and intended for the oil industry and VIP / corporate transport sectors. In line with the American celebrations of 1976 ( the country's bicentennial), the model was redesignated to "S-76". The end-product became a popular entry into the medium-lift category with nearly 1,100 examples produced.

The S-76 was given a twin-turboshaft engine arrangement and these systems were fitted over the passenger cabin in the usual way. The cockpit seated its crew of two side-by-side aft of a short nose assembly with generally good vision out-of-the-cockpit. Access was by way of hinged, Automobile-style doors while the passenger section carried rectangular sliding doors to either side of the fuselage. The tail stem was well-contoured with the existing lines of the fuselage and housed a drive shaft powering a four-bladed tail rotor offset to portside. This was used to balanced the torque effect caused by the four-bladed main rotor system mounted atop the passenger cabin. A wheeled tricycle undercarriage was installed to allow for ground running and made wholly retractable to maintain aerodynamic efficiency during flight.

The original production became the S-76A and this model was given 2 x Rolls-Royce (Allison) 250-C30 turboshaft engines of 650 horsepower each. Some 284 units followed in production. The utility-minded form became the S-76A "Utility" and this mark featured a reinforced cabin floor.

The S-76A+ was the S-76 outfitted with French Turbomeca Arriel 1S turboshaft engines and seventeen were modified in this fashion. Similarly, the S-76A++ carried 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1S1 turboshaft engines. The S-76A Mk II was an improved all-weather hauler with refinements as well as uprated turboshaft engines.

The S-76B was produced with 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-36A or PT6B-36B engines and 101 were made to this standard. The S-76C was given 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1S1 engines and 43 were followed in production. The S-76C+ was similar but carried 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 2S1 engines (with complete digital FADEC support) and 35 followed. The S-76C++ was next and this product sported Turbomeca Arriel 2S2 engines instead. The S-76D was completed with 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines and a Thales "Topdeck" avionics fit.

The S-76C++ variant was crewed by two with seating for thirteen. It was given an overall length of 52.5 feet with a height of 14.5 feet. Empty weight was listed at 7,000lb with a gross weight of 11,700lb. Power from the 2 x Turbomeca Arriel units became 922 horsepower each allowing for a maximum speed of 180 miles-per-hour with a range out to 475 miles and a service ceiling of about 13,800 feet.

Military variants of the S-76 model were the "AUH-76" (based on the aforementioned S-76 Mk II model) and the H-76 "Eagle" which was proposed for maritime use - though not adopted by any one party. The S-76 "Shadow" was used in the development of the (ultimately abandoned) U.S. Army's RAH-66 "Comanche" light attack stealth helicopter program (detailed elsewhere on this site). A single S-76B was also modified with a fantail (shrouded) rotor unit for the same program and showcased at the 1991 Paris Air Show.

Operators of the S-76 ultimately ranged from Argentina and China to Turkmenistan and the United Kingdom in both military and civilian roles (as well as some Coast Guard services). Many of these original operators continue to operate the Sikorsky helicopter. CHC Helicopter Corporation of Canada services the offshore oil and gas industries with a fleet numbering nearly 80 S-76 platforms. Bristow Helicopters of Scotland is another well-known operator of the type.

Program Updates

November 2018 - United States Army aviation personnel have test-flown an autonomous development of the S-76B helicopter family (known specifically as the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft - or "SARA"). The model in question has been modified by Sikorsky (Lockheed) in conjunction with DARPA.


YEAR: 1977
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Sikorsky Aircraft (Lockheed) - USA
LENGTH: 52.49 ft (16 m)
HEIGHT: 14.50 ft (4.42 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 7,011 lb (3,180 kg)
MTOW: 11,707 lb (5,310 kg)
POWER: 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 2S2 turboshaft engines developing 922 horsepower each and driving a four-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.
SPEED: 180 mph (290 kph; 157 kts)
CEILING: 13,780 feet (4,200 m; 2.61 miles)
RANGE: 472 miles (760 km; 410 nm)
OPERATORS: Argentina; China; Honduras; Hong Kong; Japan; Jordan; Philippines; Saudi Arabia; Serbia; Spain; Taiwan; Thailand; Trinidad and Tobago; Turkmenistan; United Kingdom

Typically none though gunship types fit armament as necessary.
Variants / Models

• S-76 - Base Model Designation
• S-76A - Initial production model; fitted with Rolls-Royce 250-C30 turboshaft engines.
• S-76A "Utility" - Base transport model; reinforced cabin floor; side sliding door panels.
• S-76A+ - S-76 models re-engined with Turbomeca Arriel 1S engines.
• S-76A++ - S-76 models re-engined with Turbomeca Arriel 1S1 engines.
• S-76A Mk II - All-weather transport model; uprated engines.
• S-76B - Fitted with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-36A or PWC PT6B-36B engines; 101 examples.
• S-76C - Fitted with Turbomeca Arriel 1S1 engines; 43 examples.
• S-76C+ - Fitted with Turbomeca Arriel 2S1 FADEC engines; 35 examples.
• S-76C++ - Fitted with Turbomeca Arriel 2S2 engines
• S-76D - Fitted with PWC PW210S engines and Thales avionics suite; reduced noise.
• AUH-76 - Armed utility transport based on S-76 Mk II model.
• H-76 "Eagle" - Proposed militarized maritime patrol variant based on the S-76B; not produced.
• S-75 - Advanced composite airframe experimental platform.
• S-76 "SHADOW" - Single-seat experimental platform.

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (180mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Sikorsky S-76's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (1,090)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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