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Wed, Aug 30, 2023

Sikorsky to Build 35 CH-53K Helicopters for U.S. Navy

Anchors Aweigh on $2.7-Billion Contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded Sikorsky a $2.7-billion contract to build and deliver 35 additional CH-53K helicopters—the largest procurement to date of the heavy-lift multi-mission rotorcraft.

Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo stated: “This contract award for 35 CH-53K helicopters stabilizes Sikorsky’s nationwide supply base, creates additional production efficiencies, and provides the U.S. Marine Corps with transformative 21st Century technologies. Our long-standing partnership led to this best-value contract award providing the capability and readiness the Marines need.”

The agreement includes 12 U.S. Marine Corps Lot seven aircraft, 15 U.S. Marine Corps Lot eight aircraft, and eight aircraft for Israel.

Deliveries of subject aircraft will commence in 2026.

The newly-announced contract advances Sikorsky and the U.S. Navy along the path to a multi-year agreement and the two-hundred aircraft Marine Corps Program of Record. Additionally, the contract award includes eight CH-53K helicopters for the Israeli Air Force and follows the initial production announcement in 2022 for the first four aircraft under a U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement.

The CH-53K will support Israeli special operations programs while providing the Israeli Defense Forces a platform possessed of the speed, safety, survivability, and gross-weight capabilities required to support the entirety of the service’s foreseeable missions—including troop and cargo transport, and search and rescue.

The U.S. Navy declared Full Rate Production for the CH-53K program in December 2022. Production of the model is expected to increase to more than twenty units annually in the coming years.

Sikorsky is currently procuring long-lead items and critical materials to support ramp up of CH-53K production in its digital factory.

Sikorsky Marine Corps Systems vice-president Dana Fiatarone set forth: “Our skilled employees are using digital tools to build more efficiently as these helicopters roll off the production line and into the hands of the Marines. The performance of the CH-53K in the fleet validates its capabilities to provide a strategic advantage and shows that even more is possible with this aircraft.”

The CH-53K’s heavy-lift capabilities exceed those of all other U.S. Department of Defense rotary wing aircraft. Moreover, the machine is the only heavy-lift helicopter slated to remain in production through 2032 and beyond. The CH-53K is able to carry a 27,000-pound external load over 110-nautical-miles in high/hot conditions—a feat amounting to more than triple the external load-carrying capacity of the legacy CH-53E aircraft under similar conditions. 

The CH-53K King Stallion is designed to conduct expeditionary assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel in support of distributed operations deep inland from sea-based centers of operation—a critical capability in the Indo-Pacific region. The CH-53K is a digitally designed, market-available aircraft, conducive to a range of operations the likes of humanitarian relief, firefighting, and search and rescue.



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