$1.3 billion contract for heavy-lift helicopters signed between U.S. Marine Corps, Sikorsky

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND -- PATUXENT RIVER, Md. The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, a $1.3 billion Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lots 2 and 3 contract for 12 aircraft, namely the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K King Stallion.

The CH-53K King Stallion, a new-build helicopter, will expand the fleet’s ability to move material more rapidly throughout the area of responsibility and is, say Navy officials, the only aircraft able to provide the Marine Corps with the heavy-lift capability it needs to meet future operational requirements for the vertical-lift mission.

“This contract award reflects close cooperation and risk sharing between the government and industry teams to deliver critical capabilities to the Marine Corps," said James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition.  "Working with our industry partners, the team ensured that solutions for technical challenges are incorporated into these production aircraft. This reflects the urgency to ensure we deliver capabilities necessary to support the Marine Corps and the Department of Navy’s mission, while continuing to drive affordability and accountability into the program.”

The CH-53K has been designed and has demonstrated lift capability of nearly 14 tons (27,000 pounds/12,247 kg) at a mission radius of 110 nautical miles (203 km) in Navy high/hot environments; it is rated to lift triple the baseline CH-53E lift capability and has a proven ability to lift up to 36,000 pounds using its external cargo hook.