Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin, has announced the delivery of the first Connecticut-built CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter that will be delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The company says this helicopter, which moves more troops and cargo more rapidly from ship to shore, was the first digitally designed helicopter.
The CH-53K’s digital thread runs from design through production, maintenance, and sustainment, increasing mission availability while reducing pilot and crew workload.
“This Connecticut-built CH-53K aircraft is a testament to the Sikorsky legacy of building safe, reliable rotorcraft for decades. But the way we design, test and build helicopters has transformed,” said Paul Lemmo, President, Sikorsky. “Our employees are using digital tools and other advanced technologies such as manufacturing simulation and 3D laser inspection technology. This factory transformation is a model for all future helicopter programs at Sikorsky.”
This King Stallion™ helicopter will be stationed at Marine Corps Aviation Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina where Marines will conduct training flights and support the fleet with heavy-lift missions with the aircraft in preparation for the CH-53K’s first deployment in 2024. This heavy-lift helicopter is part of a 200 aircraft Program of Record for the Marine Corps with a total of 33 aircraft currently on contract and an additional nine on contract for long lead parts.
“The CH-53K helicopter provides advanced capabilities allowing Marines to get anywhere in the world where the mission requires heavy-lift logistics support,” said Deputy Commandant for Aviation, Lt. Gen. Mark R. Wise during a ceremony at Sikorsky. “This helicopter is a much safer aircraft because it can maneuver in low visibility environments. It will forward deploy Marines quickly and effectively.”