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Sikorsky to deliver six CH-53K King Stallion helicopters to U.S. Marine Corps


Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin company, is awarded a $550,372,323 modification to previously awarded fixed-price-incentive (firm target), firm-fixed-price contract N00019-16-C-0048. This modification is for Lot IV low rate initial production and delivery of six CH-53K King Stalion helicopters and associated aircraft, programmatic and logistics support, rate tooling and physical configuration audits.

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Sikorsky to deliver six CH 53K King Stallion helicopters to U.S. Marine Corps

A CH-53K King Stallion helicopter begins its ascent at the 2018 Berlin Air Show for the first time internationally, Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, Schönefeld, Germany, April 25, 2018 (Picture source: U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Hailey D. Clay)


Work will be performed in Stratford, Connecticut (33.17%); Wichita, Kansas (11.51%); Salt Lake City, Utah (7.18%); Hazelwood, Missouri (6.28%); Bridgeport, West Virginia (3.22%); Redmond, Washington (2.12%); Windsor Lock, Connecticut (1.84%); Kent, Washington (1.54%); Fort Worth, Texas (1.44%); Quebec, Canada (1.35%); Cudahy, Wisconsin (1.29%); Rochester, United Kingdom (1.27%); Fort Walton Beach, Florida (1.11%); various locations within the continental U.S. (24.68%); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (2%), and is expected to be completed in July 2024.

Fiscal 2020 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $519,899,846; and fiscal 2021 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $30,472,477 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.


Sikorsky to produce 6 more CH 53K King Stallions for U.S. Marine Corps

Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion under construction (Picture source: Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin)


With this construction lot, the production order increases to 24 CH-53K as part of the program of 200 aircraft (“Program of Record” -PoR). Based on the contract, Sikorsky will begin delivering the six additional helicopters in December 2023. “This order is a vote of confidence by the government in the CH-53K platform. The award shows that we are working hard to make the aircraft more and more cost effective, ”said Maj. General Greg Masiello, program director in charge, Assault and Special Mission Programs at the USMC. “The ability and affordability of the CH-53K are critical to the U.S. Marine Corps and our friends and allies with real reinforcement. "

Currently, five aircraft under the CH-53K program are directly on the production line at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, Connecticut, and several dozen are in various stages of production. The program provides for the delivery of the first helicopters from this production phase in September 2021 (LRIP - Low Rate Initial Production).

Sikorsky and its suppliers have made significant investments in equipment, machinery, tools, and employee training to ramp up the production required for the CH-53K program. For example, the newly installed 10-ton indoor cranes are already in use, which are easily able to place the gear-rotor head units, which weigh over five tons, in the aircraft. "The production of the CH-53K transport helicopter ushers in a new era of capabilities, technology, safety and operational flexibility for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Sikorsky is doing everything in its power to support the USMC in utilizing the greatest possible potential of this completely new helicopter fleet, ”said Bill Falk, CH-53K program director at Sikorsky. "The aircraft crews are already training on state-of-the-art simulators in order to prepare for operational use in a safe and inexpensive manner," continues Falk.

The heavy transport helicopter CH-53K is also nearing the end of the test phase in preparation for the operational test (Initial Operational Test & Evaluation - IOT & E). For this purpose, the CH-53K has already completed more than 2,000 flight hours - under extremely demanding conditions at sea and in very hot and cold climates. In 2020 alone, the following tests were completed:
• Air refueling when transporting external loads
• Successful testing under demanding conditions at sea
• Flight tests under extremely hot and dusty conditions at the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona

Further program in progress :
• Maximum weight of 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms) for external loads on the center hook
• Continuous flight speeds of over 150 knots
• Turning flight with more than 60 ° inclination
• Altitudes of 18,500 feet above sea level (MSL)
• 12-degree slope landings and take-offs
• Automatic shedding of external loads
• Ballistic resistance of the aircraft cell and main components after weapon exposure

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being produced by Sikorsky Aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). The design features three 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants. It is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military. The USMC plans to receive 200 helicopters at a total cost of $25 billion. Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) testing started in April 2014; flight testing began with the maiden flight on 27 October 2015. In May 2018, the first CH-53K was delivered to the Marine Corps.