Using proven advanced manufacturing techniques and continuing to drive down unit price, the Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky
will build nine more CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters under a new contract for the US Navy.
This production award also includes an agreement for the next production contract at an even lower unit price which will decrease further if ‘additional quantity options are exercised’, resulting in significant savings for the US government and taxpayers. Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the nine additional aircraft in 2024.
Bill Falk, Sikorsky’s CH-53K programme director, said: “Our aggressive focus on quality and affordability and strong government-industry partnership has successfully reduced the aircraft price.
“We look forward to expanding our digital-build and production and delivering this advanced heavy-lift aircraft as quickly as possible to the Marine Corps, joint force, and our allies. Our nationwide network of suppliers is contributing to cost reduction efforts and this award will continue our collaboration, realising even more efficiencies.” Initial Operational Test and Evaluation
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 and 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, (IOTandE).
Marines will evaluate how the CH-53K helicopter performs in fleet operating conditions at sea, in sand and lifting external loads.
Meanwhile, the Swiss Federal Council announced that Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II is the aircraft selected from its ‘New Fighter Aircraft’ competition. The company says the F-35 selection will deliver economic and technical advantages to Switzerland for decades to come, with Swiss industry having the opportunity to participate in research and development, production and sustainment opportunities that will extend their capabilities into the future.
To date, the F-35 operates from 21 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 655 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,380 pilots and 10,670 ‘maintainers’ trained on the aircraft.