Sikorsky to build four CH-53K operational test helicopters

  • 17-Jun-2013 02:37 EDT
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The four SDTA aircraft are based on the configuration of the fourth and final flight test aircraft currently being assembled on the prototype production line.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. received a $435 million U.S. Navy contract to build four production-representative CH-53K heavy lift helicopters for the U.S. Marine Corps. Designated as System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA), the four aircraft will enable the Marines to conduct operational evaluation of the new helicopter system in support of Initial Operational Capability in 2019. The contract schedule requires that Sikorsky deliver the first SDTA aircraft in 39 months, and the fourth by the end of March 2017, when the Marines will begin operational evaluation. Sikorsky will perform final assembly of the SDTA aircraft at the company's Florida Assembly and Flight Operations facility in West Palm Beach. Once the SDTA aircraft enter operational evaluation in 2017, the Marine Corps will verify the CH-53K helicopter's capability to carry 27,000 lb over 110 nmi under "high hot" ambient conditions, nearly tripling the external load carrying capacity of the current CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.


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