Sikorsky Awarded $3 Billion CH-53K System Development and Demonstration


Released on Wednesday, April 5, 2006
United States of America
CH-53E Super Stallion
CH-53K King Stallion
SDD - System Development and Demonstration
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 (sling) loads.

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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