The Lockheed Martin subsidiary has been tapped to ramp up production of the heavy-lift helicopter for the US Navy.
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Sikorsky has secured a new contract to build nine additional CH-53K King Stallion aircraft for the US Navy.
The nine helicopters, which form part of the 200 aircraft Program of Record for the US Marine Corps, are scheduled to be delivered from 2025.
The CH-53K King Stallion is used to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armoured vehicles, equipment and personnel, supporting distributed inland operations from a sea-based centre of operations.
The capability is particularly suited for operations across the Indo-Pacific.
“By embracing resilient, predictive logistics and sustainment, we are enabling CH-5K crews to make smarter, faster decisions, to increase reliability, and improve readiness and material availability at reduced burden to the fleet,” Bill Falk, Sikorsky director, CH-53K programs, said.
“After 50 years of supporting the CH-53E, Sikorsky has a deep understanding of the heavy-lift mission and an enduring partnership with the US Marines Corps enabling our team and our proven supply chain to offer tailored solutions resulting in more efficient missions.”
The aircraft will be manufactured at Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, currently active with seven CH-53K aircraft in build, and 47 additional aircraft in various stages of production.
Sikorsky has delivered a total of five operational CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters to the US Marine Corps in Jacksonville, North Carolina, with four more planned for delivery later this year.
The program achieved initial operational test and evaluation in 2021, scheduled to conclude in 2022.
The CH-53K aircraft is equipped with Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS), which is designed to transition the US Marines from fixed interval to on-condition maintenance.
This is expected to produce lower maintenance crew hours, reduced life cycle costs and increased aircraft readiness.
Lockheed Martin is currently negotiating with the US Navy on a performance-based logistics contract, aimed at expanding from the CH-53E to add the CH-53K with a contract award due this year.