Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier Lockheed Martin Corp announced on Tuesday a U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with Israel for 12 CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters.
This production announcement is for the first four of 12 aircraft for Israel and is on the heels of a contract to produce nine more aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps. The signed letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. Government and Israel states first deliveries of the baseline aircraft are planned for 2025.
The CH-53K helicopters will replace the Israeli Air Force (IAF) fleet of modified CH-53D Yasur helicopters, which have been in Israel’s inventory for over 50 years. The all-new CH-53K delivers modern state-of-the-art capabilities that result in improved survivability, safety, and reduced aircrew workload over its predecessor, making it the perfect fit for the demanding IAF mission. Also, with a reduction in support equipment footprint compared to the legacy fleet, the CH-53K will mean reduced operating costs.
“We are building on decades of experience and partnership in supporting the CH-53E for the Marine Corps and the CH53D for the IAF. Sikorsky has a deep understanding of the world-wide heavy lift mission enabling our team and proven supply chain to offer tailored solutions resulting in more efficient missions , “ said Paul Lemmo, president, Sikorsky. “We are committed to provide training and sustainment support to ensure a smooth entry into service for the IAF.”
The aircraft will be manufactured at Sikorsky (a business unit of Lockheed Martin), headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, leveraging the company’s digital build and advanced technology production processes.