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Lockheed Martin to begin CH-53K King Stallion production
CH-53K King Stallion. © Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin to begin CH-53K King Stallion production

Lockheed Martin has received a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract to build two production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for delivery in 2020.

Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Lockheed Martin a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 1 contract to build two production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. This contract follows the Milestone C decision by the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) on 4th April 2017 approving LRIP production.  

Under the $304m contract, Sikorsky will deliver two production aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps in 2020 along with spares and logistical support.

The CH-53K completed its first extended "cross country" flight from Sikorsky's West Palm Beach, Florida, facility to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland on 30th June. Several such flights are planned during 2017 and 2018 as the flight test programme — involving Sikorsky, U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) personnel — transitions to the flight test facilities at Patuxent River (PAX).

The four CH-53K Engineering Development Model (EDM) aircraft have already completed more than 450 hours of flight testing at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach

The U.S. Marine Corps intends to acquire 200 CH-53Ks, with plans for eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.

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