Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky will build nine more CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters under a new contract from the U.S. Navy.
The nine helicopters are part of a 200 aircraft Program of Record for the U.S. Marine Corps for a total of 33 production aircraft, with three of the 33 delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps since October 2020. Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the nine additional aircraft in 2024.
The Lot 5 contract for nine helicopters includes an option for a Lot 6 contract that would buy nine more at an even lower price. This Lot 6 contract is to be exercised no later than February 2022.
“Our aggressive focus on quality and affordability and strong government-industry partnership has successfully reduced the aircraft price. We look forward to expanding our digital-build and production and delivering this advanced heavy lift aircraft as quickly as possible to the Marine Corps, joint force, and our allies,“ said Bill Falk, Sikorsky CH-53K program director.
“Our nationwide network of suppliers is contributing to cost reduction efforts and this award will continue our collaboration, realizing even more efficiencies.”
The CH-53K will further support the U.S. Marine Corps in its mission to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations, critical in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1, VMX-1, has begun flying the CH-53K aircraft as they prepare for the next phase of assessment known as Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E).
Marines will evaluate how the CH-53K helicopter performs in fleet operating conditions at sea, in sand and lifting external loads.
“The delivery of three CH-53K King Stallion helicopters is significant in that it continues the training process for the Marines, ensuring a smooth entry into service for this intelligent aircraft that offers dramatic improvements in performance, survivability, reliability and maintenance for the Marines 21st century missions,” said Falk.