Sikorsky Aircraft has drawn a new $1.13-billion contract modification from the U.S. Navy to proceed on low-rate initial production for 12 new CH-53K helicopters. Sikorsky is a Lockheed Martin Corp. subsidiary.
The Sikorsky CH-53K “King Stallion” is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter developed for the U.S. Marine Corps to replace an earlier version, CH-53E, that has been in use since 1981. The CH-53K design emphasizes "low maintenance, high availability and enhanced survivability in the most austere and remote forward operating bases."
The King Stallion is equipped with single, dual, and triple external cargo hook capability that allows for transfer of three independent external loads to three separate landing zones, in support of distributed operations in a single sortie, without having to return to a ship or other logistical hub.
The first CH-53Ks were delivered to the USMC in 2018.
The new order is described as a modification to an earlier fixed-price-incentive-firm, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, covering a total of 200 of the helicopters.
According to the U.S. Navy award, the work on the contract will be performed mainly at Sikorsky operations in Connecticut, Kansas, and Utah.