Digital Thread Design, Production and Sustainment: Shaping a 21st Century Build and Modernization Process


Sikorsky is working with NAVAIR and the USMC to deliver a new build heavy lift helicopter, the CH-53K.

This is a digital aircraft, unlike its predecessor the CH-53E which is a mechanical aircraft.

What this means is that the aircraft is digitally designed, manufactured by a digital thread production process, provides operational data for the sustainment process, and enables that operational data to flow back into the upgrade, redesign, and manufacturing process.

Even though the CH-53K has a similar footprint to the CH-53E, which was done precisely to ensure that the new build helicopter could fit into the Navy’s amphibious fleet, that aircraft was built many years ago. A new production line has been set up for the CH-53K and it is designed around digital thread production.

This video was produced by Sikorsky and highlights the digital thread process.

This is process which works interactively from design to prediction to sustainment and shape an innovative and ongoing development and modernization process for deployed aircraft.

For our archive of CH-53K articles, see the following: