Sikorsky Aircraft announced today that it was awarded a $3.0 billion System
Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract for the United States Marine Corps
CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter.
Under the terms of the SDD contract, Sikorsky will oversee aircraft development,
systems integration, test article production and test and evaluation activities
on a sole source basis. The SDD contract could lead to the production of 156
CH-53K aircraft to replace roughly an equal number of CH-53E SUPER STALLION in
the Marine Corps' current inventory. Development money and production quantities
are determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding
allocations set by Congress and Pentagon acquisition priorities.
SDD engineering and program administration activity will be centered at
Sikorsky's Stratford facility and begin immediately.
The three-engine Sikorsky CH-53E SUPER STALLION is the largest, most powerful
marinized helicopter in the world. It is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious
assault ships to transport personnel and equipment, and to carry external
Sikorsky is currently conducting competitions to select suppliers for the CH-53K
major sub-systems, including the avionics management system and the engine.
Sub-system supplier selection is scheduled to finish later in 2006.
The CH-53K will maintain virtually the same footprint as the CH-53E, but will
nearly double the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under "hot
high" ambient conditions. The CH-53K's maximum gross weight will increase to
84,700 pounds versus 73,000 pounds for the CH-53E.
The upgrades slated for the CH-53K include: joint interoperable glass cockpit
fly-by-wire flight controls; high-efficiency rotor blade with anhedral tip;
low-maintenance elastomeric rotorhead; gross weight expansion; upgraded engine
system; cargo rail locking system; external cargo handling improvements and
survivability enhancements; and reduced operation and support costs.
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