US Navy awards Lockheed Martin a contract to build nine additional CH-53K helicopters for the USMC (United States Marine Corps).
Press Release, Stratford, 03 February 2022: Prioritising affordability and utilising advanced manufacturing techniques, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, will build nine additional CH-53K aircraft at a lower unit price than previous lot buys, resulting in significant savings for the US government and taxpayers. The company’s experienced supply chain coupled with its active digital approach drives speed and affordability throughout design, development, production, and sustainment.
The CH-53K will further support the US Marine Corps in its mission to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armoured vehicles, equipment and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based centre of operations, critical in the Indo-Pacific region. These nine helicopters are part of 200 aircraft Program of Record for the US Marine Corps with deliveries beginning in 2025.
“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,” said Bill Falk, Sikorsky Director, CH-53K programmes. “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.”
Building to Deliver: The aircraft will be built at Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, leveraging the company’s digital build and advanced technology production processes. The factory is active with seven CH-53K aircraft in build, and there are 47 more aircraft in various stages of production.
Sikorsky has made significant investments in workforce training, tooling, and machinery to increase the number of aircraft built and delivered year over year. In total, Sikorsky has delivered five operational CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters to the US Marine Corps in Jacksonville, North Carolina, with four more planned for delivery this year.
Marines Flying CH-53K in Fleet Environment: The CH-53K programme operated by the US Marine Corps entered Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2021 and is set to conclude in 2022. Sikorsky has a strong foundation to support the CH-53K because the company already provides the US Marines with predictive maintenance on the legacy CH-53E by utilising the Fleet Common Operating Environment (FCOE) enabling the shift from reactive to predictive maintenance.
The CH-53K aircraft is equipped with Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS), which will transition the US Marines from fixed interval to on-condition maintenance resulting in lower maintenance crew hours, reduced life cycle costs and increased aircraft readiness.
Lockheed Martin is working with the US Navy on a performance-based logistics contract that expands from the CH-53E to add the CH-53K with a contract award expected this year.