Lockheed's $29 Billion Helicopter Running Short of a Needed Part (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published Oct 16, 2018)
By Anthony Capaccio
Timely delivery of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s $29 billion CH-53K King Stallion helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps may be jeopardized by a potential shortage of specialized metal components two years after the bankruptcy of a key supplier.

In an illustration of how even the biggest defense contractor depends on its supply chain, the Navy’s aircraft development and acquisition command has assembled a team with Lockheed to assess options for ensuring a steady supply of the parts. General Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, is monitoring the issue.

The Navy is looking for an alternate company capable of a manufacturing process called “thin wall casting” to forge very precise, narrow passageways for coolants and lubricants to flow inside a metal housing. The process is designed to save weight, a crucial consideration in aircraft manufacturing.

The Navy plans to buy 200 of the helicopters, a lucrative opportunity that was the prime motivation for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed’s $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies Corp. in 2015. The Marines are scheduled to declare the helicopter operational in December 2019. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg News website.


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