Tag Archives: IOT&E

Initial Operational Test

Demonstrating its advanced capabilities in the fleet environment, the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter completed Initial Operational Test & Evaluation test vignettes (IOT&E) paving the way for the expected declaration by the U.S. Marine Corps of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) later this year and a Full Rate Production decision in 2023.

CH-53K King Stallion
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment prepare to board a CH-53K King Stallion helicopter for an air assault training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, June 10, 2021 (Photo by Lance Corporal Yuritzy Gomez)

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, built four System Demonstration Test Article CH-53K King Stallion helicopters and delivered them to the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1), in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to support the seven-month evaluation, which concluded in March.

«The performance of these intelligent aircraft during Marine-operated flight tests displays the CH‑53K’s operational effectiveness and ensures it will support Marines at the forefront of combat capability and heavy lift for decades to come», said Bill Falk, Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion program director. «The CH‑53K King Stallion delivers greater lift and endurance capabilities over the legacy aircraft. Its fly-by-wire system reduces pilot workload and enhances the ability to refuel in midair, which is critical to expanding the Marine Corps operational flexibility across all U.S. and allied military services, making the CH-53K King Stallion a powerful asset for the Marines evolving missions».


CH-53K King Stallion Integrated and Operational Tests Completion

The completion of IOT&E testing follows several CH-53K King Stallion program markers including:

  • Day and night time air-to-air refueling;
  • Air-to-air refueling with 27,000 lb./12,247 kg external load;
  • Sea trials with over 350 landings;
  • Delivery of first six production aircraft.

The CH-53K King Stallion program is on track to achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2022. IOC is achieved when the first squadron receives:

  • Four CH-53K King Stallion helicopters with the required personnel suitably trained and certified;
  • Primary and support equipment and technical publications, including initial spares with interim repair support and initial training curricula, are in place and ready to deploy in accordance with U.S. Marine Corps standards.


Building Helicopters for U.S. Marine Corps and Allies

The CH-53K King Stallion established high-tech production line in Stratford, Connecticut, is active with six aircraft in build, including three on schedule for delivery this year. There are 46 aircraft fully on contract including four heavy lift helicopters for the government of Israel. The helicopters for Israel are under a U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement.

An additional 10 U.S. Marine Corps aircraft are on contract for long lead material. The program of record for the U.S. Marine Corps is 200 aircraft.

The CH-53K King Stallion will further support the U.S. Marine Corps in its mission to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations. This capability is critical in the Indo-Pacific region and around the globe.

Amphibious Vehicles

BAE Systems has received a $113.5 million contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for an additional 26 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) under the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase of the program. This award brings the total vehicle orders for the ACV to 116, and moves the program closer to full-rate production.

U.S. Marine Corps orders more Amphibious Combat Vehicles from BAE Systems

The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable and adaptable platform for conducting rapid ship-to-shore operations and brings enhanced combat power to the battlefield. BAE Systems has been in low-rate production since 2018 on the personnel carrier variant in the ACV family, which is envisioned to consist of additional variants including command and control, 30-mm medium caliber turret, and recovery versions.

«The ACV provides the most survivable and mobile amphibious vehicle to the U.S. Marines Corps for supporting the warfighters’ ability to successfully execute their unique expeditionary missions», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems. «This award further demonstrates our commitment to that mission, it’s an important milestone for the program and represents a major step toward full rate production».

The BAE Systems team and the U.S. Marine Corps have been making significant strides to reach full-rate production, including the successful completion of Logistics Demonstration as a critical enabler for the program to move into Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) with trained U.S. Marine maintainers. This and other major milestones such as operator training and additional testing will take place before full-rate production.

The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles, which have been in service for decades and were also built by BAE Systems.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.