Construction of fifth SDTA CH-53K begins
Spirit AeroSystems has started assembly of the fifth System Demonstration Test Article CH-53K King Stallion helicopter for the US Marine Corps, the company announced on 19 June.
The company will assemble the entire cockpit and cabin and deliver the complete fuselage to Sikorsky. Major assembly on the aircraft is set to begin in September.
Spirit AeroSystems is responsible for the composite cockpit and cabin structure with a separately attached tail section. The lightweight structures support the CH-53K's heavy-lift capabilities. The aircraft can carry 27,000lbs over 110 nautical miles in high/hot conditions, which is three times the load-carrying capacity of the current CH-53E Super Stallion.
Sikorsky announced the programme's Milestone C decision that clears the way for low-rate initial production earlier this year. The marine corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.
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