Sikorsky has been contracted by the Naval Air Systems Command to procure the long-lead parts and materials required to build and deliver the first low rate initial production Lot 1 (LRIP-1) of the US Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53K King Stallion.
Under the $25m firm fixed-price advance acquisition contract, Sikorsky will supply long-lead components that will be used to build the two new aircraft, subject to milestone C review and approval, anticipated next year.
Naval Air Systems Command H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters (PMA-261) programme manager and US Marine Corps colonel Hank Vanderborght said: "All acquisition programmes are facing budget pressures these days, so awarding this contract a few weeks after obtaining authorisation is a major win for the programme and Marine Corps aviation.
"This contract ensures the programme will have all required long lead materiel to begin building the LRIP 1 aircraft a year from now when the programme achieves Milestone C."
The initial operational capability (IOC) of the aircraft construction programme is expected to begin and continue in 2019, following which four CH-53K aircraft with combat ready crews will be logistically ready to be deployed.
The CH-53K is a new-build helicopter that will replace the CH-53E helicopter.
It is designed to expand the fleet’s ability to move more material rapidly throughout the area of responsibility using advanced technologies.
The aircraft has the capacity to lift nearly 14t, at a mission radius of 110nm in high / hot environments.
The USMC is planning to acquire 200 CH-53K helicopters.
In 2006, Sikorsky was awarded a $3.5bn system development and demonstration (SDD) contract from the US Department of Defense for the development, systems integration, production of test helicopter, and testing and evaluation of the CH-53K helicopter.