The Naval Air Systems Command is ordering a provisioning parts database of technical information from Sikorsky. The cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order
is priced at $38 million and supports the initial operational capability of the Navy's CH-53K
King Stallion helicopter. The database will include 2D drawings that support all organizational, intermediate and depot levels in support of the helicopter. The provisioning database will determine the range and quantity of repair parts, and support and test equipment required to operate and maintain the King Stallion for its initial period of service. Provisioning
is an integral part of supply chain management. The delivery order is partially funded ($8.6 million) through FY 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds. Work will be performed at Sikorsky's facility in Stratford, Connecticut and is scheduled for completion in November 2023.
The U.S. Marines have a problem. They rely on their CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy lift helicopters to move troops, vehicles, and supplies off of their ships. But the helicopters are wearing out. Fast. The pace demanded by the Global War on Terror is relentless, and usage rates are 3 times normal. Attrition is taking its toll. Over the past few years, CH-53s have been recalled from “boneyard” storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, in order to maintain fleet numbers in the face of recent losses and forced retirements. Now, there are no flyable spares left.
Enter the Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, now known as the CH-53K. It aims to offer notable performance improvements over the CH-53E, in a similar airframe. The question is whether its service entry delay to 2018-2019 will come too late to offset a serious decline in Marine aviation.