world of aviation logo

Australia to trial helicopter fatigue testing tech on an ex US Navy Seahawk

written by WOFA | May 2, 2018
The US Navy has supplied a retired Seahawk airframe for Australian fatigue testing trials. (US Navy)
The US Navy has supplied a retired Seahawk helicopter for Australian Defence scientists to develop and test new fatigue testing technologies which, if successful, could significantly reduce maintenance costs and improve aircraft availability.
“In a world first, Defence scientists and engineers are developing a full-scale, structural fatigue test rig that can accurately replicate the loads and forces experienced by a helicopter in flight,” Minster for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said in a statement.
“While full-scale fatigue tests are routinely conducted for fixed-wing aircraft, the complex, high-frequency flight loading of helicopters has been particularly challenging to replicate in the laboratory. Instead, helicopters are certified using conservative test methods that do not always fully predict the possibility of fleet damage.”
The Minister said Defence was investing $5 million on the project, which involves Australian companies Nova Systems, Jack Thompson Engineering, Fortburn and Advanced VTOL.
“The trial program, including the building of the innovative test rig and test demonstration, commenced late last year and will continue until 2022,” the Minister said.
“The program aims not only to develop the capability to fully test and validate helicopter structures, but also to deliver innovations that may be applied to other areas such as the fatigue testing of fixed-wing aircraft.”
The US Navy has expressed an interest in applying the new technology across its entire Seahawk fleet in the future.


  • Raymond


    Any reason why a recently retired RAN S-70B-2 wasn’t suitable?

  • Brendan


    Anyone know what the Bureau number is for this airframe?

Comments are closed.


Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year