Sikorsky won a $25.1 million delivery order
, which provides non-recurring engineering for the development of logistics support products for the Maintenance Task Analysis Phase II, a provisioning database of technical information to include 2D drawings that supports all operational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance for the CH-53K helicopter. The CH-53K Super Stallion
can be fielded from amphibious assault ships for the transportation of personnel and equipment. It will also be used to carry external cargo loads. The aircraft can be operated from austere and remote forward operating bases. Work will take place in Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, France, Georgia, England, New York, New Jersey and Ohio. Expected completion will be in August 2024.
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.