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Sun, Dec 23, 2018

King Stallion Helicopter Beset By Further Delays

Development Phase Is 'Taking Longer Than Planned', According to DCMA

Development of the Sikorsky King Stallion helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps is "taking longer than planned", according to a statement from the Defense Contract Management Agency, and will miss its Initial Combat Capability milestone next year.

Bloomberg reports that the DCMA said in the statement that resolving the issues that have cropped up during flight tests is forcing a major restructuring of the program.

Among those flaws are exhaust gas being pulled back into the engine, limited service life for main rotor gearbox parts, tail rotor deficiencies, and late delivery of redesigned parts. The DCMA says now that flight testing will not be complete until May 2020, which is five months after it initial combat capability was initially projected.

The Navy has budgeted to by 61 of the helicopters through 2023. The current acquisition cost of the aircraft, including development, is $139.5 million per helicopter, according to the latest Navy acquisition report. That represents a 20 percent increase over the baseline established in 2005.

Greg Kuntz, spokesman for the Naval Air Systems Command, said in an email that the Navy is working with Sikorsky parent company Lockheed Martin to "re-evaluate and restructure the detailed program schedule, which would include extending the timeline for the current development phase.

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report

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