The Pentagon is assessing whether Boeing Co.’s heavy-lift helicopter for the Army, the CH-47 Chinook, could replace Lockheed Martin Corp.’s troubled King Stallion chopper for some or all Marine Corps missions, according to officials.
Boeing has provided the Defense Department information on how the Chinook might be adapted for Marine Corps missions, according to two officials, both of whom asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Analysts from the Pentagon’s independent cost analysis and program assessment group met at Boeing’s Philadelphia facility April 25 to review the data, the officials said.
A Pentagon decision to direct the Navy to buy maritime versions of the CH-47 -- assuming the chopper can be converted for the rugged, corrosive environment of aircraft carriers and amphibious warfare ships -- would be a blow to Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed. The Navy’s plans to buy 200 King Stallions, known as the CH-53K, were a prime motivation for the company’s $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies Corp. in 2015.
Bill Falk, the King Stallion’s program director, said he was aware of the review and was confident his company’s helicopter remains the Navy’s best choice. (end of excerpt)
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( EDITOR’S NOTE: Interesting that the Pentagon should look to the CH-47 as a possible alternative to the CH-53K at the same time that it is thinking of stopping production of the Block II EMD variant of the CH-47F before it begins to free money for future programs.
In other words, the Pentagon may well end up having no alternatives to the CH-53K.)