Lockheed Martin to build two CH-53K
Lockheed Martin has received a Low Rate Initial Production Lot 1 contract worth $304 million from the US Naval Air Systems Command to build two production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for the US Marine Corps (USMC), the company announced on 1 September.
Under the contract, Sikorsky will deliver two aircraft to the USMC along with spares and logistical support in 2020.
The CH-53K King Stallion has three times the lift capability of its predecessor, the CH-53E Super Stallion. The helicopter's cabin gives increased payload capacity to internally load 463L cargo pallets, high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles or a European Fenneck armoured personnel carrier while still leaving the troop seats installed. The CH-53K’s external hook system provides the capability to lift three independent external loads simultaneously.
The King Stallion also has full authority fly-by-wire flight controls and mission management to reduce pilot workload and allow the crew to focus on mission execution. Features of the helicopter include advanced stability augmentation, flight control modes that include attitude command-velocity hold, automated approach to a stabilised hover, position hold and precision tasks in degraded visual environments and tactile cueing.
The CH-53K also has internal health monitoring systems coupled with a digital aviation logistics maintenance system that interfaces with the fleet common operating environment for fleet management.
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