Sikorsky delivered the third CH-53K Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) helicopter ahead of contract schedule to the United States Marine Corps.
The aircraft, built at Sikorsky’s Digital Factory, is the first CH-53K under the Lot 2 LRIP contract awarded by the US Navy in 2019, and the seventh overall delivered to the fleet. The CH-53K’s heavy-lift capabilities surpass all other US Department of Defense rotary-wing platforms and are the only heavy-lift helicopter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond.
Sikorsky is a Lockheed Martin company.
This CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter joins six in service at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, NC The CH-53K is the only offshore long-range heavy-lift helicopter in production and will immediately provide three times the lift capabilities of its predecessor.
“This Connecticut-built CH-53K aircraft is a credit to our employees and their skills in digital tools and other advanced technologies to continue Sikorsky’s legacy of building modern, safe and reliable rotorcraft. . Our domestic supply chain supports the active production line as we prepare to deliver two more CH-53K helicopters later this year,” said Bill Falk, Sikorsky CH-53K Program Manager. “We look forward to continuing our progress towards next year’s full-rate production decision.”
The CH-53K helicopter was born in a digital environment, and now its digital thread connects design, manufacturing, training and sustainment teams. This network, which includes everything from work instructions to maintenance manuals, is based on the helicopter’s single, continuous data thread that remains consistent from initial design through sustainment. Today, all of Sikorsky’s aircraft programs are born in a digital environment. The power of this digital wire drives affordability, deliverability and reliability throughout the aircraft lifecycle.
The CH-53K is Sikorsky’s pioneering digital technology program with advanced installation of wheels, electric units, hydraulics and more.
Connecticut’s high-tech production line is active with seven aircraft under construction on final assembly.
Earlier this year, Sikorsky was awarded a contract to build 12 CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters for Israel under a US Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement.
The letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) signed between the US government and Israel indicates that the first deliveries of the base aircraft are scheduled for 2025.
The CH-53K helicopters will replace the Israeli Air Force‘s (IAF) fleet of modified CH-53D Yasur helicopters, which have been part of Israel’s inventory for more than 50 years. The all-new CH-53K offers state-of-the-art modern capabilities that improve survivability, safety and reduced aircrew workload compared to its predecessor, making it the ideal solution for the demanding mission of the IAF.
The Marines recently declared Initial Operating Capability (IOC) and have flown and supported the CH-53K in the fleet environment demonstrating the aircraft is on track to deploy on schedule in 2024. aircraft has flown more than 3,000 hours showcasing the CH-53K’s performance in a range of mission scenarios and harsh environments.
The CH-53K will further support the United States Marine Corps in its mission to perform heavy expeditionary assault transports of armored vehicles, equipment and personnel to support distributed inland operations from of an operations center at sea, essential in the Indo-Pacific region.