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.
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.
Argentina; China; Honduras; Hong Kong; Japan; Jordan; Philippines; Saudi Arabia; Serbia; Spain; Taiwan; Thailand; Trinidad and Tobago; Turkmenistan; United Kingdom; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
52.5 ft (16.00 m)
14.5 ft (4.42 m)
7,011 lb (3,180 kg)
11,707 lb (5,310 kg)
+4,696 lb (+2,130 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Sikorsky S-76 production variant)
2 x Turbomeca Arriel 2S2 turboshaft engines developing 922 horsepower each and driving a four-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.
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