Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier Lockheed Martin Corp announced earlier this week, that the U.S. Navy has declared full-rate production of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter.
According to a press release from Lockheed Martin, a decision is expected to increase production to more than 20 helicopters annually in the coming years.
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.
“Ramping up production of the most technologically advanced helicopter in the world allows the U.S. Marine Corps to build out its CH-53K King Stallion fleet and support mission success,” said Bill Falk, director of the Sikorsky CH-53K program. “This production authorization stabilizes Sikorsky’s domestic supply chain and is a testament to our enduring partnership with the Marine Corps.”
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. The CH-53K is a digitally designed, market available aircraft, enabling a range of operations such as humanitarian relief, firefighting and search and rescue.