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MERC recently instrumented a Navy MH‐60S with strain gages, accelerometers, and a data acquisition system as part of a strain survey designed to validate the finite element model that MERC previously developed for the Navy Multi‐Mission Helicopter Program Office (PMA‐299). The ground testing for the Sierra Strain Survey (SSS) took place the week of 14 December 2020 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

The Naval Test Wing Atlantic MH‐60S Test Team facilitated the testing, which involved MERC, PMA‐299, Southern Maryland Crane, rigging support from the Electromagnetic Compatibility Branch, HX‐21 DynCorp maintenance, and HX‐21 safety. The aircraft was lifted by the main rotor and tail cone under two gross weight conditions. The results from this test will provide data that will improve the fidelity of the finite element model and facilitate future structural analyses. Flight tests are scheduled for January and February 2021.