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.

Credit: Lockheed Martin

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.

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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.

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