CH-53K helicopter approved for low-rate initial production fundingNews
April 07, 2017
STRATFORD, Conn. Lockheed Martin announced that its Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter has successfully passed its Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) review and achieved a Milestone C decision, a determination that enables the craft to enter low-rate initial production funding.
The CH-53K King Stallion, says the company, will provide three times the lift of the CH-53E (known as the Super Stallion) that it replaces. Lockheed Martin says that the King Stallion's increased payloads can range from multiple U.S. Air Force standard 463L pallets to an internally loaded High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or a European Fennek armored personnel carrier; it can also carry as many as three independent external loads at once.
The King Stallion -- intended for use by the U.S. Marine Corps. --will also enable full-authority fly-by-wire flight controls and mission management aimed at reducing pilot and crew workload. Other features on the CH-53K include advanced stability augmentation, flight-control modes that include attitude command-velocity hold, automated and stabilized hover, position hold for precision tasks in degraded visual environments, and tactile cueing for the pilot.
It is expected that the Marines will acquire a total of 200 CH-53Ks; the first six aircraft are already under contract and are expected to be delivered starting in 2018. Long-lead procurement of parts and materials for the first two low-rate initial production helicopters is underway.