Spirit AeroSystems wins CH-53K structures contract
Spirit AeroSystems is to supply Sikorsky with the major structural cockpit and cabin components of four additional CH-53K heavy lift helicopters as part of a new $60 million contract.
The four production-representative System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA) aircraft will be used by the US Marine Corps to evaluate the helicopter's mission capabilities in service operating conditions.
The SDTA aircraft are expected to enter operational evaluation in 2017, when the US Marine Corps will verify the CH-53K helicopter's capability to carry 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under high hot ambient conditions. The new capability will nearly triple the external load carrying capacity of the current CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.
David Coleal, executive vice president/general manager of Spirit AeroSystems, said: ‘We are pleased to be moving forward with Sikorsky to the next phase of hardware and systems testing. The CH-53K programme is now one step closer to providing critical heavy lift capability to the marines. We thank Sikorsky and the US Navy for their confidence in our ability to design and build fuselages and cockpits that meet the requirements for this important mission.’
Spirit has previously supplied Sikorsky with the cockpit and cabin structures for five prototype CH-53K test helicopters and two non-flying test articles as part of a $3.5 billion Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) awarded to Sikorsky in April 2006. The navy modified the SDD contract in May 2013 to include $435 million in funding for the four SDTA aircraft, which Sikorsky is to deliver to the navy by the end of March 2017.
Michael Torok, Sikorsky's CH-53K program vice president, added: ‘We are pleased to have Spirit AeroSystems on the CH-53K team providing critical structures for these operational evaluation aircraft. Spirit has demonstrated strong performance and reliability as a key supplier during the system development and demonstration phase. We look forward to their continued success.’
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