Four Companies Awarded Bids Following 12-Month Competition
Sikorsky Aircraft announced Wednesday it has selected four
subcontractors to design and fabricate the major fuselage sections
for its new CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter currently under
development for the United States Marine Corps.
Sikorsky's Fuselage Team will consist of Aurora Flight Sciences,
EDO Corp., GKN Aerospace, and Spirit AeroSystems. They were
selected following an extensive solicitation and evaluation of
multiple bids over a 12-month competition.
"Sikorsky is pleased to welcome four new team members to the
CH-53K helicopter program. This evaluation was one of the most
complex undertaken by Sikorsky to date, and we are confident that
the sources selected provide the best value and lowest risk for our
Marine Corps customer. The combination of Aurora, EDO, GKN, and
Spirit brings world class capability, experience and innovation to
the CH-53K team," said Dave Haines, Sikorsky's CH-53K Program
These selected sources will design
and manufacture the CH-53K primary and secondary structures.
Sikorsky will conduct the integration and test program on the
complete fuselage structure. The major subcontracted sections
include the cockpit and cabin (Spirit), aft transition (GKN), tail
rotor pylon and sponsons (EDO), and main rotor pylon (Aurora). The
fuselage development program will employ the latest advanced design
tools, manufacturing processes and materials.
Design will be conducted in a collaborative environment between
supplier sites and Sikorsky's Heavy Lift Development Center using
model management systems paired with Sikorsky data collaboration
and knowledge management systems. Composite and titanium materials
are being employed extensively to provide superior fatigue and
corrosion durability at minimum weight. State-of-the-art
manufacturing processes such as co-curing, automated part
fabrication, super high speed machining, and determinant assembly
are intended to make the structure very affordable.
Under the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract,
Sikorsky is responsible for selecting and managing the subsystem
suppliers. Other major subsystems recently awarded on the program
include the engines, fly-by-wire flight controls, and electric
power system. Additional major subsystem awards anticipated in the
coming months will be for the secondary power system, landing gear,
hydraulic, fuel, and drive systems.
The SDD contract is expected to lead to production of 156 CH-53K
aircraft to replace the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters currently
in the Marine Corps' inventory.
Sikorsky tells ANN the three-engine Sikorsky CH-53E Super
Stallion is the largest, most powerful maritime helicopter in the
world. It is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to
transport personnel and equipment, and to carry external (slung)
cargo loads. The CH-53K will maintain virtually the same footprint
as the CH-53E, but will nearly double the payload to 27,000 pounds
over 110 nautical miles under "hot high" ambient conditions. The
CH-53K's maximum gross weight will increase to 84,700 pounds from
72,500 pounds for the CH-53E.
The CH-53K also is expected to result in reduced operation and
support costs. Upgrades include joint interoperable glass cockpit;
fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth generation rotor blades with
anhedral tip; low-maintenance elastomeric rotorhead; gross weight
expansion; upgraded engine system; cargo rail locking system;
external cargo handling improvements; and survivability