SGI High Perf Computer To Design Army Helicopter

August 4, 2000

NEWS BRIEFS

Mountain View, CA — SGI announced that its advanced high-performance SGI Origin 2000 computer server is being used by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation to develop the U.S. Army’s new RAH-66 Comanche armed reconnaissance helicopter. The SGI system is delivering twice the number of survivability calculations as competing computing platforms for approximately the same price.

Sikorsky’s Origin 2000 server-based solution not only performs calculations more cost-effectively than other competing platforms, but the system also makes it possible for Sikorsky to run larger stealth aircraft design calculations than ever before. The 128-processor Origin 2000 server, which includes 32GB of memory and 2TB of disk storage, was installed in February 2000.

The RAH-66 Comanche, the U.S. Army’s 21st century combat helicopter, is being developed by U.S. Army Aviation and a team of leading aerospace companies headed by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and The Boeing Company. Sikorsky is using the SGI system primarily for survivability design for the Comanche, with emphasis on electromagnetics and other signature-related properties of stealth aircraft.

“The bottom line was that for about the same amount of money, SGI gave us twice the number of stealth calculations than its competitors,” said Tom Dannenhoffer, chief low observable (LO) engineer, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. “As a result, I believe that our level of efficiency and productivity in stealth calculations is unequalled in the airframe industry, resulting in a reduced design cycle for the Comanche and a level of system simulations never seen before.”

Radar cross section (RCS) helicopter simulations are at least a thousand times more time consuming than those for fixed-wing aircraft, partly because the rotating blades, both the main rotor and the tail rotor, must be modeled in thousands of positions. Sikorsky is running in-house-developed codes to create low RCS models for the Comanche. During Sikorsky’s vendor selection period, five competing vendors were given the opportunity to optimize these codes for their platforms.

“We considered all facets of system delivery, including performance, cost, maintenance, reliability, prior experience and other criteria,” said Dannenhoffer. “We set very aggressive computational goals, not for the standard benchmarks, but for our suite of electromagnetic and computational fluid dynamics codes, and gave all five suppliers the code and the problem. SGI showed us an overall systems advantage by using a total team approach and tuning these codes far better than its competitors. Clearly, SGI understands its customers and that was a major consideration for going forward with the SGI procurement.”

The SGI Origin server series is used for high-performance, computationally intensive applications in business, government and the scientific and technical communities. Use of MIPS processors, combined with the IRIX operating system and ccNUMA architecture in a 64-bit scalable server environment, allows the Origin series to scale to thousands of processors, providing the opportunity to seamlessly grow as customer requirements change.

In April 2000, the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche program won approval from the Department of Defense to begin its $3.1 billion Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. The U.S. Army Aviation Modernization Plan has recommended acquisition of more than 1,200 Comanche helicopters valued at nearly $34 billion over the program’s production cycle. The first U.S. Army Comanche unit will be equipped in 2006.

“Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is a world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced helicopters for commercial, industrial and military uses,” said Anthony Robbins, president, SGI Federal. “We are proud of SGI’s role in helping the Boeing-Sikorsky Comanche Team to enhance the U.S. Army’s future warfighting capabilities on schedule and on budget.”

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a United Technologies company based in Stratford, Conn., pioneered the helicopter industry and is a world leader in helicopter design and manufacturing. United Technologies Corporation, based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the building systems and aerospace industries.

SGI provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices worldwide, the company is located on the Web at http://www.sgi.com .

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