CH-53K LRIP Contract Awarded for 12 Heavy-Lift Helicopters
(Source: US Naval Air Systems Command; issued May 17, 2019)
The CH-53K is a modern, marinized, fly-by-wire helicopter that Lockheed claims can move more cargo, farther and at longer distances that any other rotary-wing aircraft in production. (LM photo)
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. --- The Naval Air Systems Command awarded on May 17 a $1.3 billion Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lots 2 and 3 contract for 12 aircraft to Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, Stratford, Conn. for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K King Stallion.

"The Marine Corps is very appreciative of the efforts by the Navy and our industry partners to be able to award the LRIP 2/3 contract,” said Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, Deputy Commandant for Aviation. This is a win for the Marine Corps and will secure the heavy-lift capability we need to meet future operational requirements and support the National Defense Strategy. I'm very confident in the success of the CH-53K program and look forward to fielding this critical capability."

The most powerful helicopter in the Department of Defense, the CH-53K King Stallion is a new-build helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material, more rapidly throughout the area of responsibility using proven and mature technologies. The CH-53K is the only aircraft able to provide the Marine Corps with the heavy-lift capability it needs to meet future operational requirements for the vertical lift mission.

“This contract award reflects close cooperation and risk sharing between the Government and industry teams to deliver critical capabilities to the Marine Corps," said James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. "Working with our industry partners, the team ensured that solutions for technical challenges are incorporated into these production aircraft. This reflects the urgency to ensure we deliver capabilities necessary to support the Marine Corps and the Department of Navy’s mission, while continuing to drive affordability and accountability into the program.”

Designed and demonstrated the lift capability of nearly 14 tons (27,000lbs/12,247 kg) at a mission radius of 110 nautical miles (203 km), in Navy high/hot environments, the CH-53K lifts triple the baseline CH-53E lift capability. The CH-53K has proven the ability to lift up to 36,000lbs via the external cargo hook. The CH-53K will have an equivalent logistics shipboard footprint, lower operating costs per aircraft, and less direct maintenance man hours per flight hour.

The combination of unmatched heavy-lift and range, fly-by-wire flight controls, with an advanced, integrated communications suite will provide the Marine Corps with the operational flexibility necessary to gain and, more importantly, sustain a tactical edge on the battlefield.

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Pentagon Contract Announcement
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued May 17, 2019)
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Co., Stratford, Connecticut, is awarded a $1,126,216,626 modification (P00026) to previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-16-C-0048).

This modification provides for the procurement of 12 Lot II and Lot III low-rate initial production CH-53K aircraft, including programmatic support, logistics support, and peculiar support equipment.

Work will be performed in Stratford, Connecticut (44.96 percent); Wichita, Kansas (12.26 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (5.67 percent); Hazelwood, Missouri (3.89 percent); Bridgeport, West Virginia (2.37 percent); Windsor Locks, Connecticut (1.52 percent); Redmond, Washington (1.52 percent); Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom (1.41 percent); Quebec, Canada (1.39 percent); Kent, Washington (1.30 percent); Cudahy, Wisconsin (1.25 percent); Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (1.23 percent); Fort Walton Beach, Florida (1.11 percent); Rome, New York (1.10 percent); various locations within the continental U.S. (16.7 percent), and various locations outside the continental U.S. (2.32 percent).

Work is expected to be completed in December 2023. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $509,053,739; and 2019 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $617,162,887, with a total of $1,126,216,626 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

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Sikorsky Receives Contract to Build 12 CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters
(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued May 17, 2019)
STRATFORD, Conn. --- Sikorsky will build 12 production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters under a new $1.13 billion contract from the U.S. Navy. These advanced helicopters are part of the 200 program of record aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps.


Under the terms of the contract, known as Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 2 and 3, Sikorsky will begin deliveries of 12 CH-53K helicopters in 2022, and also provide spares and logistical support. Sikorsky remains committed to continuing to reduce costs over the life of the program. Read the Navy's announcement.

"I'm proud of the joint government and industry team in achieving this award," said Col. Jack Perrin, U.S. Marine Corps program manager for the Naval Air Systems Command's Heavy Lift Helicopters program, PMA-261.

The CH-53K is the only sea-based, long range, heavy-lift helicopter in production and will immediately provide three times the lift capability of its predecessor. The CH-53K will conduct expeditionary heavy-lift transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations. The new CH-53K will have heavy-lift capabilities that exceed all other DoD rotary wing-platforms and it is the only heavy lifter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond.

"Sikorsky employees and our nationwide supply chain are ready to ramp up CH-53K production to support deployment of this modern, safe and reliable aircraft in 2023-2024," said Sikorsky Program Director Bill Falk. "This contract demonstrates the U.S. Marine Corps' confidence in Sikorsky to expand production of this technologically advanced heavy lift helicopter."

Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, and its suppliers have made significant investments in facilities, machinery, tooling, and workforce training to ramp-up production required for the CH-53K program. For example, we have installed more than eight new titanium machining centers, designed and implemented a new final assembly test facility with multi-floor ergonomic work platforms, installed 10-ton cranes, and now have 3D work instructions on the factory floor.

"We have transformed our factory for the future and implemented a model for all future helicopter programs," Falk said. "Additionally, our engineers have implemented the latest technologies such as manufacturing simulation and 3D laser inspection technology. These investments in systems, personnel, and our facilities have elevated Sikorsky's manufacturing technology and capabilities to meet production requirements of the CH-53K for domestic and international customers."

King Stallion Progress Update

The all-new CH-53K, designed to be intelligent, reliable, low maintenance and survivable in the most difficult conditions, has flown more than 1,400 test hours and has met all the outer reaches of the test envelope. The King Stallion is in the midst of a rigorous test program to ensure militaries can safely move troops and equipment at higher altitudes, quicker and more effectively than ever.

The CH-53K, which has proven it can lift more than 36,000 pounds, is the most powerful heavy lift helicopter ever built in the United States. The King Stallion's technologically advanced design will meet the future warfighting requirements for decades to come, enabling missions like humanitarian aid, troop and equipment transport, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), support of special operations forces, and combat search and rescue (CSAR).

Accomplishments to date include: high altitude, hot temperature, and degraded visual environment flights, maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms); forward flight speed of over 200 knots; 60 degrees angle of bank turns; altitude of 18,500 feet mean sea level (MSL); 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; and gunfire testing.


Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

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