Sikorsky contracted to build Lot 4 King Stallion helos for USMC

by Gareth Jennings

Sikorsky has been awarded USD550 million to build low-rate initial-production (LRIP) Lot 4 CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters for the US Marine Corps (USMC), parent company Lockheed Martin announced on 26 October.

The USMC has a programme of record for 200 King Stallion helicopters, of which 24 are now under contract. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The USMC has a programme of record for 200 King Stallion helicopters, of which 24 are now under contract. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) award covers six aircraft to be delivered in early 2024, and brings to 24 the number of King Stallions now under contract out of a programme of record of 200 helicopters. The contract includes funding for programmatic and engineering support, and also rate tooling.

As noted by NAVAIR in its award announcement, the King Stallion programme is now moving toward completion of developmental test in support of initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) in 2021. “To that end, the [US] Marine Corps is in the process of accepting the first operational test aircraft configured for initial operational capability. It will be used for initial CH-53K operator and maintenance training in support of the CH-53K, and along with three other aircraft to be delivered early next year, will support the execution of IOT&E,” the command said, adding that developmental flight testing is now in its final stages ahead of the IOT&E.

Recent trials of the King Stallion have included air-to-air refuelling while carrying a 27,000 lb (12,247 kg) external load, sea trials aboard the USS Wasp landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship, and flight testing in a degraded visual environment in Yuma, Arizona.

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Sikorsky has been awarded USD550 million to build low-rate initial-production (LRIP) Lot 4 CH-53K Ki...

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