US Navy okays full-rate production of Sikorsky’s CH-53K helicopter
The U.S. Navy has declared full-rate production of the Sikorsky’s CH-53K helicopter.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is procuring long-lead items and critical materials to support building full-rate production CH-53K helicopters in its digital factory. The approval is expected to increase production to more than 20 helicopters annually in the coming years.
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 aircraft.
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. It is a digitally designed, market-available aircraft, enabling a range of operations such as humanitarian relief, firefighting and search and rescue.
The US Marine Corps’ approved acquisition objective is 200 aircraft. The Marine Corps’ commitment to the CH-53K will allow suppliers to purchase in bulk, creating efficiencies and driving down overall costs for the U.S. military and international allies.
The US Marine Corps declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the CH-53K helicopter in April 2022, validating the platform’s operational readiness to forward deploy Marines and equipment across the globe.