HLR (CH-53X) Helicopter Program Moves Toward Milestone B Approval
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $43.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previous basic ordering agreement (N00019-03-G-0003) to perform requirements definition and engineering studies in support of the Marine Corps’ Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) Program. Work on the requirements definition and engineering studies will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in April 2006. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
In a related August 2005 decision, the Navy also released an Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) authorizing the HLR program to work toward Milestone B approval in Fiscal Year 2006. If granted by the Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Board, Milestone B approval will authorize the HLR program to move into the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase, the next step required under Department of Defense procurement procedures.
The HLR program is also known as the CH-53X, and has recently been formally designated the CH-53K. The program’s value will be over $4 billion, and its requirements (and political fate) will define the future of the US Marine Corps’ medium-heavy lift capabilities. HLR calls for development and procurement of 156 new-build helicopters derived from the CH-53E Super Stallion, with initial flight tests in 2010-2011 and initial operating capability in 2014-2015.