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US Navy awards Sikorsky contract to build 35 CH-53K helicopters

US Navy awards Sikorsky contract to build 35 CH-53K helicopters
U.S. Navy awards Sikorsky contract to build 35 new CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Victor Vazquez Ramos, assigned to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), launches a Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter from Arlington’s flight deck, Feb. 14, 2023.
The CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter undergoing sea trials as the next evolution of the CH-53 series helicopters that have been in service since 1966.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Bellino.

STRATFORD, Conn., Aug. 24, 2023  – The U.S. Navy awarded Sikorsky with a contract to build 35 more CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. The contract is value in $2.7 billion and is the largest procurement to date for the CH-53K® King Stallion.

“This contract award for 35 CH-53K helicopters stabilizes Sikorsky’s nationwide supply base, creates additional production efficiencies, and provides the U.S. Marine Corps with transformative 21st century technologies,” said Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky. “Our long-standing partnership led to this best value contract award providing the capability and readiness the Marines need.”

The agreement includes 12 U.S. Marine Corps Lot 7 aircraft, 15 U.S. Marine Corps Lot 8 aircraft, and eight aircraft for Israel.

Sikorsky will begin delivering these aircraft in 2026.

US Navy awards Sikorsky contract to build 35 CH-53K helicopters
The CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter takes off from the deck of the USS Wasp (LHD-1) during its first set of sea trials in June 2020.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Chief Petty Officer Daniel Barker.

This contract significantly advances Sikorsky and the U.S. Navy on the path toward a multi-year agreement and the 200 aircraft Marine Corps Program of Record.

8 more CH-53K for Israeli Air Force

This contract award includes eight additional Sikorsky CH-53K helicopters for the Israeli Air Force and follows the initial production announcement in 2022 for the first four aircraft under a U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement.

The multi-mission CH-53K will support Israeli special operations programs, as well as provide the Israeli Defense Forces with a platform that has the speed, safety, survivability and gross weight capability to support all of its missions, including troop and cargo transport, and search and rescue.

Focus on Full Rate Production

The U.S Navy declared Full Rate Production for the CH-53K program in December 2022. This is expected to increase production to more than 20 helicopters annually in the coming years.

US Navy awards Sikorsky contract to build 35 CH-53K helicopters
A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K King Stallion with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 461, Marine Aircraft Group 29, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, flies over the Colorado River in California during a training exercise, April 13, 2023.
The purpose of this training was to give junior pilots opportunities to fly in a new environment and build cohesion with their crew.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Gideon M. Schippers.

Sikorsky is procuring long-lead items and critical materials to support ramp up of CH-53K production in its digital factory.

“Our skilled employees are using digital tools to build more efficiently as these helicopters roll off the production line and into the hands of the Marines,” said Dana Fiatarone, vice president, Sikorsky Marine Corps Systems. “The performance of the CH-53K in the fleet validates its capabilities to provide a strategic advantage and shows that even more is possible with this aircraft.”

The CH-53K operated by Marines in the fleet continue to achieve milestones:

  • CH-53K completed second successful sea trial
  • U.S. Marines transferred supplies from KC-130 into a CH-53K

Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion

US Navy awards Sikorsky contract to build 35 CH-53K helicopters
U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 transfer supplies from a KC-130J Hercules into a CH-53K King Stallion assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 461 with an extended boom forklift – military millennium vehicle assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 29 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, June 7, 2023.
The tail-to-tail transfer of supplies allowed distribution of sustainment in the minimum time period of vulnerability by reducing break-bulk requirements.
U.S. Marines with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) experimented with dynamic, assault-support capabilities in a distributed-aviation environment.
VMGR-252, HMH-461, and MALS-29 are subordinate units of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, the aviation combat element of II Marine Expeditionary Force.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Adam Henke.

The CH‑53K is a multi-mission helicopter with heavy-lift capabilities that exceed all other U.S. Department of Defense rotary wing aircraft and is the only heavy-lift helicopter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond. The CH-53K can carry a 27,000-pound external load over 110 nautical miles in high/hot conditions, which is more than triple the external load carrying capacity of the legacy CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft in these same conditions.  

The CH-53K King Stallion is designed to conduct expeditionary assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations, critical in the Indo-Pacific region. The CH-53K is a digitally designed, market available aircraft, enabling a range of operations such as humanitarian relief, firefighting and search and rescue.

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The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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