CH-35K low-rate contract

Sikorsky has won a $1.3 billion contract to build the next 12 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.

US Naval Air Systems Command awarded a $1.3 billion contract to Sikorsky on May 17, 2019, for the low rate initial production (LRIP) for 12 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.

The latest production contract represents LRIP Lots 2 and 3 production for the US Marine Corps.

Lieutenant General Steven Rudder, Deputy Commandant for Aviation, US Marine Corps, said: “The Marine Corps is very appreciative of the efforts by the Navy and our industry partners to be able to award the LRIP 2 and 3 contract. This is a win for the Marine Corps and will secure the heavy-lift capability we need to meet future operational requirements and support the National Defence Strategy. I’m very confident in the success of the CH-53K programme and look forward to fielding this critical capability.”

Sikorsky said that work will begin on the 12 helicopters in 2022 and an associated US Department of Defense statement, issued on May 17, 2017, said that production is expected to be completed in December 2023.

According to the manufacturer, the CH-53K flight test programme has now amassed more than 1,400 flight hours and has “met all the outer reaches of the test envelope”.

James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, added: “This contract award reflects close co-operation and risk sharing between the government and industry teams to deliver critical capabilities to the Marine Corps. 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 programme.”

The US Marine Corps’ programme of record covers 200 CH-53K helicopters.