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US Navy details ‘exportable variant' CH-53K for Israel

The CH-53K to be fielded by Israel will be an ‘exportable variant' fitted with newly developed avionics, communication gear, and sensor systems. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Navy (USN) has detailed the ‘exportable variant' of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter that was announced for Israel, telling Janes on 6 June that it is to feature newly developed systems and sensors.

Responding to a request for information on the ‘exportable variant' of the CH-53K first revealed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in a contract notification posted on 20 May, the USN said that while the baseline aircraft will retain the same configuration as that fielded by the US Marine Corps (USMC), country-specific equipment will be developed for export customers on a case-by-case basis.

“The domestic basic CH-53K aircraft, [with its] three T408 engines, are common with any CH-53K export,” a USN spokesperson told Janes . “The avionics, communication gear, and sensor systems would all be developed, negotiated, and exported on a case-by-case basis,” he added.

With Israel to date the sole export customer for the CH-53K, the DoD contract announcement referred specifically to that country, saying that USD23.8 million was being awarded to Sikorsky for non-recurring engineering work in support of developing the ‘exportable variant' for the heavy-lift helicopter.

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