Lockheed Martin Corp.’s King Stallion helicopter for the Marine Corps keeps growing costlier, with the Pentagon asking Congress to shift $158 million in funds to avert “significant delays” and a potential work stoppage on the heavy-lift chopper.
The previously undisclosed request to Congress this month to reprogram funds from other accounts is being sought to complete development of three software updates, finish flight testing and correct what the Pentagon’s combat testing office says in its latest assessment are “multiple design deficiencies discovered during early testing.”
The problems are also requiring the Defense Department program office to prepare a “major schedule revision,” the testing office said in the assessment for 2018 obtained by Bloomberg News. The Marines plan to delay a December target date to declare the helicopter has initial combat capability.
Among the deficiencies cited by the testing office: flaws with the cockpit airspeed indicator, low reliability of the main-rotor gearbox, structural problems with the tail boom and tail rotor, high temperatures and hot gas ingestion into one of the chopper’s engine bays and hot exhaust gas sucked back into the engine. (end of excerpt)
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