The nine helicopters are part of a 200 aircraft Program of Record for the US Marine Corps for a total of 33 production aircraft under contract, with three of the 33 already delivered to the US Marine Corps. Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the nine additional aircraft in 2024. The CH-53K will support the US Marine Corps in its mission to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift 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.
Sikorsky and the US Navy also agreed to an even lower aircraft price for the next production contract of nine helicopters, to be exercised no later than February 2022.
“Our aggressive focus on quality and affordability and strong government-industry partnership has successfully reduced the aircraft price,“ said Bill Falk, Sikorsky CH-53K Program Director. “Our nationwide network of suppliers is contributing to cost reduction efforts and this award will continue our collaboration, realizing even more efficiencies.”
Evaluating the CH-53K performance
Since October 2020, Sikorsky has delivered three operational CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters to the US Marine Corps in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1, VMX-1, has begun flying the CH-53K aircraft as they prepare for the next phase of assessment, known as Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. Marines will evaluate how the CH-53K helicopter performs in fleet operating conditions at sea, in sand and lifting external loads.
“The delivery of three CH-53K King Stallion helicopters is significant in that it continues the training process for the Marines, ensuring a smooth entry into service for this intelligent aircraft that offers dramatic improvements in performance, survivability, reliability and maintenance for the Marines 21st Century missions,” said Falk.