Curtiss-Wright has received a contract from Sikorsky to develop and supply blade-fold distributor units and digital air-data computers for the US Marine Corps CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter.

The contract has a total value of $16m if all development and aircraft production options and phases are exercised.

Curtiss-Wright CEO and chairman Martin R. Benante said the blade-fold technology and digital air-data computers will enable the helicopter to effectively deploy from amphibious ships.

The blade-fold units will provide information to execute the functions of the main rotor blades, while digital air-data computers provide flight-critical height and speed information to the cockpit.

Work will be carried out at the company’s facility in California, US, and Christchurch, UK, with the production phase expected to begin in 2013.

The CH-53K is expected to replace the CH-53E and is used to transport heavy payloads over longer distances.