Tag Archives: Sikorsky

5,000th «Hawk»

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, on January 20, 2023 delivered its 5,000th «Hawk» variant helicopter, a U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk. The iconic aircraft will continue to support medium-lift requirements for the U.S. military and international operators for decades into the future.

UH-60M Black Hawk
Sikorsky marks the delivery of the 5,000th «Hawk» helicopter, a UH-60M (pictured), at its headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, January 20, 2023 (Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company)

Sikorsky celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

«Sikorsky, as a company, has been forged by the Black Hawk», said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. «The Black Hawk and its variants deliver when reliability and performance are nonnegotiable. Hawk aircraft continue to demonstrate their versatility and readiness with the latest technological advancements and ongoing U.S. and global investment in the aircraft».

Customers worldwide depend on the Black Hawk platform and its derivatives, including MH-60R/S maritime operations helicopters, MH-60T multi-mission helicopters, HH-60W rescue helicopters and internationally built S-70 Black Hawks to include the baseline FIREHAWK, which have all proven their versatility and capability across a spectrum of challenging mission sets.

Sikorsky’s highly skilled and experienced workforce manufactures the latest generation of Hawk aircraft built in Stratford, and there is high international demand for the Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk, manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland. More than 35 international customers operate the Black Hawk thanks to its global support network and continued modernization.

The U.S. Army, the largest Black Hawk operator, noted the key role the aircraft continues to fulfill during military and civil operations around the world, in addition to its significant contribution towards Joint All Domain Operations.

«For more than 40 years the Black Hawk has remarkably supported Soldiers in every major contingency operation the Army has executed», said Colonel Calvin Lane, the utility helicopter project manager for the Program Executive Office Aviation. «Even though the helicopter has been around longer than most of the Soldiers it now supports, the Army plans for it to be in front line service another 40 years and beyond. And everyone who contributes to the delivery of this aircraft in any way, contributes directly to providing combat capability that protects Soldiers and helps the Army accomplish its mission».

Sikorsky
Sikorsky Delivers 5,000th «Hawk», Highlights Versatility and Future of Iconic Helicopter

 

The Future of the Black Hawk

As U.S. Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft are fielded, the Black Hawk will remain the foundational tactical air assault and utility aircraft for the U.S. Army. Modernization efforts that improve Black Hawk availability and reliability by lowering direct operating costs include:

  • A Modular Open Systems Approach allowing rapid integration of emerging technologies to maintain relevance in future operations by increasing reach, survivability, lethality and sustainment;
  • Improved Turbine Engine to increase lift capability and range;
  • Advanced Digital Vehicle Management Systems supporting Degraded Visual Environment and automated operations;
  • Digital tools including predictive analytics that reduce aircraft downtime and maintenance costs.

In February 2022, Lockheed Martin flew its first uninhabited Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) Sikorsky UH-60A/S-70 Black Hawk testbed helicopter powered by Sikorsky’s MATRIX autonomy technology in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Subsequent flights at U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2022 demonstrated future utility missions for the platform, which shows no signs of relinquishing its preeminent medium-lift capability through continuous innovation and investment.

«We are committed to all H-60 and S-70 operators and look forward to enduring partnerships on the Hawk program in the years to come», added Nathalie Previte, vice president of Army and Air Force Systems at Sikorsky. «It remains our priority to fulfill our customers’ requirements and meet the needs of current and future operational units. With unmatched versatility and global interoperability, Hawk aircraft continue to advance 21st century security».

Full Rate Production

The CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter has entered Full Rate Production (FRP) and its deployment phase, following a decision review by Frederick J. Stefany, Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.

CH-53K King Stallion
U.S. Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 461 prepare for takeoff in CH-53K King Stallions at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, August 16, 2022 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Adam Henke)

FRP occurs at the end of Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) following a review assessing the results of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), Live Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E), production readiness reviews, risk, and affordability analyses. On December 21, the Acquisition Decision Memorandum was signed, authorizing entry of the CH-53K King Stallion into FRP.

FRP is an important milestone to the H-53 Heavy Lift Program Office (PMA-261), as it allows the program to proceed beyond LRIP and begin increasing procurement quantities, thereby gaining production efficiencies and reducing unit costs.

«We have successfully demonstrated the performance and reliability of this aircraft», said Colonel Kate Fleeger, PMA-261 program manager. «With FRP we will continue to build on the strong manufacturing, sustainment and support that has been established for the CH-53K King Stallion».

The Marine Corps continues to execute its transition from the CH-53E Super Stallion to the CH-53K King Stallion and is on schedule to declare Full Operational Capability (FOC) in FY2029.

PMA-261 manages the cradle to grave procurement, development, support, fielding and disposal of the entire family of H-53 heavy lift helicopters.

 

General Characteristics

Number of Engines 3
Engine Type T408-GE-400
T408 Engine 7,500 shp/5,595 kw
Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load) 74,000 lbs./33,566 kg
Maximum Gross Weight (External Load) 88,000 lbs./39,916 kg
Cruise Speed 141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h
Range 460 NM/530 miles/852 km
AEO* Service Ceiling 14,380 feet/4,383 m
HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW) 13,630 feet/4,155 m
HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW) 10,080 feet/3,073 m
Cabin Length 30 feet/9.1 m
Cabin Width 9 feet/2.7 m
Cabin Height 6.5 feet/2.0 m
Cabin Area 264.47 feet2/24.57 m2
Cabin Volume 1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3

* All Engines Operating

** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect

*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect

Autonomous Black Hawk

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Army for the first time how an uninhabited Black Hawk helicopter flying autonomously can safely and reliably perform internal and external cargo resupply missions, and a rescue operation.

Autonomous Black Hawk
Sikorsky demonstrates to the U.S. Army for the first time how an optionally piloted Black Hawk helicopter flying in autonomous mode could resupply forward forces. These uninhabited Black Hawk flights occurred in October at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company

Performed October 12, 14 and 18 as part of the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2022 (PC22) experiment, the flights show how existing and future piloted utility helicopters could one day fly complex missions in reduced crew or autonomous mode. This would give Army commanders and aviators greater flexibility in how and when aircraft and pilots are used, especially in limited visibility or contested environments.

 

Why It Matters

Sikorsky is partnered with DARPA to develop autonomy technology that will exponentially improve the flight safety and efficiency of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. Sikorsky’s autonomy system, known as MATRIX technology, forms the core of DARPA’s ALIAS (Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System) project.

«We believe MATRIX technology is ready now for transition to the Army as they look to modernize the enduring helicopter fleet, and acquire Future Vertical Lift aircraft», said Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky Innovations. «In addition to increasing flight safety and reliability, MATRIX technology enables survivability in high tempo, high threat 21st Century Security environments where Black Hawk helicopters operate today, and DEFIANT X and RAIDER X helicopters could operate in the future. Uncrewed or reduced crewed helicopters could safely perform critical and lifesaving missions day or night in complex terrain and in contested battlespace».

 

The Yuma Details

During PC22 Technology Gateway, the Sikorsky and DARPA team showed how the optionally piloted Black Hawk helicopter with no humans on board can deliver a large quantity of blood product unharmed by flying low and fast above ground level using the terrain to mask its signature; resupply troops with an external load; and re-route mid-flight to evacuate a casualty.

To begin the flight demonstrations, pilots flew and landed the Black Hawk aircraft, then activated the MATRIX system to give full control to the flight computer. When the pilots exited, the helicopter autonomously completed the following mission demonstrations:

  • Long-endurance Medical Resupply: The Black Hawk aircraft flew 83 miles/133.6 km while loaded with 400 units of real and simulated blood – totaling 500 pounds/277 kg. On reaching 40 miles/64.4 km from its initial take-off point, the helicopter descended into a valley as low as 200 feet/61 m above ground level at 100 knots/115 mph/185 km/h.
  • Cargo Delivery and Casualty Evacuation (combined mission): The helicopter lifted off with a 2,600-pound/1,179-kg external load attached to a 40-foot/12-meter sling, and flew at 100 knots/115 mph/185 km/h for 30 minutes toward a designated landing zone. While in flight, the helicopter was redirected, simulating a scenario in which a threat needed to be neutralized near the primary landing site. Sikorsky demonstrated how a ground operator with a secure radio and tablet can take control of the uncrewed helicopter, command it to release its sling load, and then land to evacuate a casualty from a nearby location. Once the manikin on a litter was secured inside the cabin, the ground operator launched the aircraft. During the return flight, a BATDOK health monitoring device integrated with the helicopter’s communications system relayed the patient’s vitals in real-time to a ground-based medical team.

 

What’s Next

The PC22 demonstrations were the second set of uninhabited Black Hawk flights this year. Sikorsky and DARPA will continue to work toward the transition of this technology for military operations, such as aircrew support and operations, logistics and medical resupply, casualty evacuation, and commercial applications such as firefighting, cargo and urban air mobility.

Sikorsky and DARPA Autonomous Black Hawk Flies Logistics and Rescue Missions Without Pilots on Board

Initial Operational Capability

The U.S. Air Force declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter, validating the platform’s operational readiness to forward deploy Air Force rescue crews around the globe. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company designed and manufactures the HH-60W Jolly Green II, which enables the U.S. Air Force to conduct rescue missions at greater ranges and in the most challenging environments, and with increased survivability.

HH-60W Jolly Green II
U.S. Air Force Declares Initial Operational Capability of Sikorsky HH-60W Jolly Green II

«This declaration is a vote of confidence from U.S. Air Force leadership and demonstrates the critical role of and need for the HH-60W Jolly Green II», said Nathalie Previte, vice president, Sikorsky Army & Air Force Systems. «Sikorsky is committed to continuing deliveries of the Department of Defense’s only dedicated Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) helicopter and to provide the most capable platform to rescue crews who depend on this aircraft day-in and day-out to conduct vital life-saving missions».

 

U.S. Air Force Purpose-Built Rescue Helicopter

As the sole dedicated combat rescue platform in the Department of Defense, the HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter builds on the decades-long legacy of U.S. Air Force combat rescue and recapitalizes the critical combat search and rescue fleet providing U.S. Air Force combat rescue warriors with the best capability for their critical and demanding lifesaving mission. The HH-60W Jolly Green II, which is replacing the aging HH-60G Pavehawk, was specially built for the Air Force’s combat rescue mission based on fully-vetted operational requirements.

The next generation helicopter provides enhanced survivability while recovering isolated personnel from hostile territory, day or night, in adverse weather, and in a full range of threat environments. It enables Air Force Combat Rescue Team to fulfill their mission «That Others May Live» and «Leave No One Behind».

 

Mission-Critical Capabilities, Life Saving Support

The new HH-60W Jolly Green II will replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk fleet. Leveraging the proven survivability and reliability of the H-60M Black Hawk, the HH-60W Jolly Green II incorporates advanced digital design techniques, an open architecture for rapid mission system integration, an air refueling system, upgraded survivability and defensive systems, cabin and cockpit armor, integrated weapons, and increases main fuel tank capacity to 644 gallons/2928 liters. These advanced technologies enable the Jolly Green II to meet the Combatant Commander’s demands of today and the emerging Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) requirements in near peer competition and win in conflict.

 

Capability Highlights

  • Expanded aerodynamic and hover performance
  • Increased main full tank – 644 gallons/2928 liters vs 360 gallons/1363 liters – and air refuellable for greater range
  • Advanced and integrated survivability and defensive systems
  • Expanded communications including two Tactical Datalinks & Intel Receivers for Net-centric connectivity to operate in the joint-all domain environment
  • Higher resolution sensors
  • Larger main cabin
  • Upgraded armor and ballistic protection

Sikorsky has delivered 24 aircraft to the Air Force, including all Engineering & Manufacturing Development and Lot 1 aircraft. Lot 2 deliveries, comprised of 12 aircraft, began in June of this year. Sikorsky has been awarded four production lots to date, most recent recently Lot 4 for 14 aircraft in February 2022. The contract for Lot 5 for an additional 10 or more aircraft is expected to be awarded by the Air Force in 2023.

Initial Production

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, delivered the third Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) CH-53K King Stallion helicopter ahead of contract schedule to the U.S. Marine Corps. This aircraft, built in Sikorsky’s digital factory, is the first CH-53K King Stallion from the Lot 2 LRIP contract awarded by the U.S. Navy in 2019, and the seventh overall delivered to the fleet. The CH‑53K’s heavy-lift capabilities exceed all other U.S. Department of Defense rotary wing platforms and is the only heavy-lift helicopter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond.

CH-53K King Stallion
Sikorsky delivered a seventh CH-53K King Stallion Helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps. The heavy lift helicopter will be based at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina

This CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter joins the six in operation at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The CH-53K King Stallion is the only sea-based, long range, heavy lift helicopter in production and will immediately provide three times the lift capability of its predecessor.

«This Connecticut-built CH-53K King Stallion aircraft is a credit to our employees and their skills embracing digital tools and other advanced technologies to continue the Sikorsky legacy of building modern, safe, reliable rotorcraft. Our nationwide supply chain supports the active production line as we prepare to deliver two more CH-53K King Stallion helicopters later this year», said Bill Falk, Director, Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion program. «We look forward to continuing our progress toward next year’s full rate production decision».

 

Building Helicopters in Sikorsky’s Digital Factory

The CH-53K King Stallion helicopter was born in a digital environment, and now its digital thread connects design, manufacturing, training, and sustainment teams. This network, that includes everything from work instructions to maintenance manuals, is based on the helicopter’s single, continuous data thread that stays consistent from initial design all the way through sustainment. Today, all of Sikorsky’s aircraft programs are born in a digital environment. The power of this digital thread drives affordability, producibility and reliability across the aircraft lifecycle.

The CH-53K King Stallion is Sikorsky’s pioneer digital technology program with advancing installation of wheels, electrical units, hydraulics and more.

The high-tech production line in Connecticut is active with seven aircraft in build on final assembly.

 

Factory Prepares for Foreign Military Sales

Earlier this year Sikorsky secured a contract to build 12 CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters for Israel under a U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement.

The signed Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. Government and Israel states first deliveries of the baseline aircraft are planned for 2025.

The CH-53K King Stallion helicopters will replace the Israeli Air Force (IAF) fleet of modified CH-53D Yasur helicopters, which have been in Israel’s inventory for over 50 years. The all-new CH-53K King Stallion delivers modern state-of-the-art capabilities that result in improved survivability, safety, and reduced aircrew workload over its predecessor, making it the perfect fit for the demanding IAF mission.

 

#OnlyTheKCan

The Marines recently declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and have been flying and supporting the CH-53K King Stallion in the fleet environment demonstrating the aircraft is on track to deploy on schedule in 2024. The aircraft have flown more than 3,000 flight hours showcasing the CH‑53K’s performance in a range of mission scenarios and challenging environments.

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, critical in the Indo-Pacific region.

 

General Characteristics

Number of Engines 3
Engine Type T408-GE-400
T408 Engine 7,500 shp/5,595 kw
Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load) 74,000 lbs./33,566 kg
Maximum Gross Weight (External Load) 88,000 lbs./39,916 kg
Cruise Speed 141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h
Range 460 NM/530 miles/852 km
AEO* Service Ceiling 14,380 feet/4,383 m
HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW) 13,630 feet/4,155 m
HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW) 10,080 feet/3,073 m
Cabin Length 30 feet/9.1 m
Cabin Width 9 feet/2.7 m
Cabin Height 6.5 feet/2.0 m
Cabin Area 264.47 feet2/24.57 m2
Cabin Volume 1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3

* All Engines Operating

** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect

*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect

Army Aviation Fleet

The United States government and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, signed a five-year contract for a baseline of 120 H-60M Black Hawk helicopters, with options to reach a total of 255 aircraft to be delivered to the U.S. Army and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Sikorsky continues to modernize and enhance the Black Hawk to meet the Army’s challenging and evolving missions by continuously delivering aircraft thanks to a hot production line, mature well-established supply chain and digital factory.

H-60M Black Hawk
An HH-60M MEDEVAC takes flight at Sikorsky’s headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut. Sikorsky continues to modernize and enhance the Black Hawk thanks to a hot production line, mature well-established supply chain and digital factory (Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company)

The «Multi-Year X» contract for UH-60M Black Hawk and HH-60M MEDEVAC aircraft marks the 10th multiple-year contract for Sikorsky and the U.S. government for H-60 helicopters. With more than 2,100 H-60 variants in the U.S. Army’s inventory, the Black Hawk continues to be the workhorse and backbone of U.S. Army Aviation. As the Army continues to develop its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) capabilities, they will continue to operate the H-60M for the next several decades and alongside the future fleet.

The contract value for expected deliveries is approximately $2.3 billion, with a potential value of up to $4.4 billion, should options for additional aircraft be fully exercised. Multi-Year X deliveries are scheduled to begin in July and continue through 2027.

«This Multi-Year agreement allows the Army to meet current and future capability needs through upgrades, remanufacturing, replacement, and technology insertions», said Colonel Calvin Lane, the Utility Helicopters project manager. «The efficiencies of this contract make the best use of limited resources and result in direct savings to the Army and to taxpayers».

«Decades of Black Hawk production and enhancements, strong program execution and close partnership with the Army has kept the program thriving, and this contract is a testament to that success», said Nathalie Previte, vice president of Sikorsky’s Army and Air Force programs. «Additionally, we continue to see strong international interest in the Black Hawk due to its versatility and proven record of providing unwavering support to the U.S. and nations around the globe».

«Sikorsky continues to invest in the Black Hawk platform – from sustainment to digital transformation and modernization – in order to provide our customers with the competitive edge they require», added Previte. «We have aligned our investments with the Army’s technology roadmap, while leveraging Future Vertical Lift technologies to ensure the Black Hawk will be a key player in the Joint All Domain Operations environment and FVL ecosystem».

The H-60M Black Hawk, the premier multi-mission combat assault utility helicopter, provides additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, active vibration control, improved producibility, enhanced handling qualities and situational awareness, and improved survivability.

Honeywell Engine

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, and Boeing on February 10, 2022 announced Honeywell as the engine provider for DEFIANT X, the advanced helicopter for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition.

DEFIANT X
Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing selects Honeywell Engine to power DEFIANT X

With Honeywell providing the HTS7500 turboshaft engine, Team DEFIANT brings unsurpassed Army Aviation experience to revolutionize Army air assault while seamlessly integrating with legacy platforms, proven tactics and existing infrastructure. DEFIANT X will be the fastest, most maneuverable and survivable assault helicopter in history.

«Team DEFIANT’s strength is built on the experience of Sikorsky and Boeing, and a commitment to Army Aviation», said Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift. «Honeywell’s history with Boeing and the U.S. Army makes us even more confident that DEFIANT X is the best fit for the Army’s total mission».

«DEFIANT X is a transformational aircraft, and Honeywell is giving us a transformational engine to power it», said Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky. «DEFIANT X is optimized for operational effectiveness, sustainment and interoperability with the enduring fleet, and will transform the Army».

DEFIANT X is a complete weapon system that builds on the handling qualities and capabilities proven by the team’s technology demonstrator, SB>1 DEFIANT. It flies twice as far and fast as the venerable Black Hawk helicopter it is designed to replace. Currently undergoing testing in a digital combat environment, the aircraft continues to prove itself as the most survivable platform for mission requirements.

«Honeywell is excited to be a part of Team DEFIANT and proud to play a part in the future of vertical lift for the U.S. Army», said Ricky Freeman, president, Defense & Space at Honeywell Aerospace. «We’re confident our HTS7500 engine on the DEFIANT X platform will provide the Army with an agile, fast and maneuverable platform that will help ensure overmatch capability in the future battlespace».

Sikorsky-Boeing submitted the proposal for DEFIANT X for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft in September 2021. Contract award is expected this year.

Uninhabited flight

The DARPA Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program completed a first ever flight of a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter without anyone onboard. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, completed 30-minutes of uninhabited flight with the Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) over the U.S. Army installation at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on February 5th. An additional uninhabited flight was also conducted on February 7th.

ALIAS
ALIAS equipped Black Hawk helicopter completes first uninhabited flight

The Black Hawk was retrofitted with Sikorsky MATRIX autonomy technologies that form the core of ALIAS and can change the way aviators and air crews execute their missions by providing assistance when flying with limited visibility or without communications.

ALIAS is a flexible, extensible automation architecture for existing manned aircraft that enables safe reduced crew operations, which facilitates the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft. It also provides a platform for integrating additional automation or autonomy capabilities tailored for specific missions.

«With reduced workloads pilots can focus on mission management instead of the mechanics», said Stuart Young, program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. «This unique combination of autonomy software and hardware will make flying both smarter and safer».

The ALIAS program has leveraged the considerable advances in aircraft automation systems over the past 50 years, as well as similar advances in remotely piloted aircraft. Even in today’s most automated aircraft, pilots must still manage complex interfaces and respond to unexpected situations.

ALIAS aims to support execution of an entire mission from takeoff to landing, including autonomously handling contingency events such as aircraft system failures. Easy-to-use interfaces facilitate supervisor-ALIAS interaction.

«With ALIAS, the Army will have much more operational flexibility», said Young. «This includes the ability to operate aircraft at all times of the day or night, with and without pilots, and in a variety of difficult conditions, such as contested, congested, and degraded visual environments».

The Army is currently exploring potential use cases for technologies such as ALIAS, including those outlined in the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.

Within the next month, the ALIAS program plans to conduct the first flight of a fly-by-wire M-model Black Hawk at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

First Uninhabited Black Hawk Flight

Nine Additional CH-53K

Prioritizing affordability and utilizing advanced manufacturing techniques, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, will build nine additional CH-53K King Stallion aircraft at a lower unit price than previous lot buys, resulting in significant savings for the U.S. government and taxpayers. The company’s experienced supply chain coupled with its active digital approach drives speed and affordability throughout design, development, production, and sustainment.

CH-53K King Stallion
Stratford, Conn: The CH-53K King Stallion helicopters will be built at Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, leveraging the company’s digital build and advanced technology production processes

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, critical in the Indo-Pacific region.

These nine helicopters are part of 200 aircraft Program of Record for the U.S. Marine Corps with deliveries beginning in 2025.

«By embracing resilient, predictive logistics and sustainment, we are enabling CH-53K King Stallion crews to make smarter, faster decisions, to increase reliability, and improve readiness and material availability at reduced burden to the fleet», said Bill Falk, Sikorsky Director, CH-53K King Stallion programs. «After 50 years of supporting the CH-53E Super Stallion, Sikorsky has a deep understanding of the heavy-lift mission and an enduring partnership with the U.S. Marines Corps enabling our team and our proven supply chain to offer tailored solutions resulting in more efficient missions».

 

Building to Deliver

The aircraft will be built at Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, leveraging the company’s digital build and advanced technology production processes.

The factory is active with seven CH-53K King Stallion aircraft in build, and there are 47 more aircraft in various stages of production.

Sikorsky has made significant investments in workforce training, tooling, and machinery to increase the number of aircraft built and delivered year over year.

In total, Sikorsky has delivered five operational CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in Jacksonville, North Carolina, with four more planned for delivery this year.

 

Marines Flying CH-53K King Stallion in Fleet Environment

The CH-53K King Stallion program operated by the U.S. Marine Corps entered Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2021 and is set to conclude in 2022.

Sikorsky has a strong foundation to support the CH-53K King Stallion because the company already provides the U.S. Marines with predictive maintenance on the legacy CH-53E Super Stallion by utilizing the Fleet Common Operating Environment (FCOE) enabling the shift from reactive to predictive maintenance.

The CH-53K King Stallion aircraft is equipped with Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS), which will transition the U.S. Marines from fixed interval to on-condition maintenance resulting in lower maintenance crew hours, reduced life cycle costs and increased aircraft readiness.

Lockheed Martin is working with the U.S. Navy on a performance-based logistics contract that expands from the CH-53E Super Stallion to add the CH-53K King Stallion with a contract award expected this year.

 

General Characteristics

Number of Engines 3
Engine Type T408-GE-400
T408 Engine 7,500 shp/5,595 kw
Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load) 74,000 lbs./33,566 kg
Maximum Gross Weight (External Load) 88,000 lbs./39,916 kg
Cruise Speed 141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h
Range 460 NM/530 miles/852 km
AEO* Service Ceiling 14,380 feet/4,383 m
HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW) 13,630 feet/4,155 m
HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW) 10,080 feet/3,073 m
Cabin Length 30 feet/9.1 m
Cabin Width 9 feet/2.7 m
Cabin Height 6.5 feet/2.0 m
Cabin Area 264.47 feet2/24.57 m2
Cabin Volume 1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3

* All Engines Operating

** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect

*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect

 

FLRAA Mission Profile

The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT successfully completed FLRAA mission profile test flights, including confined area landings and low-level flight operations. These flights validate DEFIANT’s relevancy to the Army’s mission, providing agility at the objective (also known as the «X»), and increased survivability, all while reducing pilot workload. View the video of the latest flight testing.

DEFIANT
The SB>1 DEFIANT Technology Demonstrator recently executed a confined area landing among the trees in south Florida as part of the Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing team’s effort to validate aircraft design and relevance to the Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft mission profile. (Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing photo)

«We fully demonstrated DEFIANT’s ability to execute the FLRAA mission profile by flying 236 knots in level flight, then reducing thrust on the propulsor to rapidly decelerate as we approached the confined, and unimproved, landing zone», said Bill Fell, DEFIANT chief flight test pilot at Sikorsky and a retired U.S. Army Master aviator. «This type of level body deceleration allowed us to maintain situational awareness and view the landing zone throughout the approach and landing without the typical nose-up helicopter deceleration. This confined area was extremely tight, requiring us to delay descent until nearly over the landing spot, followed by a near-vertical drop. We landed DEFIANT precisely on the objective with little effort as we descended into this narrow hole while maintaining clearance on all sides».

SB>1 DEFIANT is the technology demonstrator proving out transformational capabilities for the DEFIANT X weapon system, the Sikorsky-Boeing team offering for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition as part of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. DEFIANT X will enable crews to fly low and fast through complex terrain, where Army aviators spend most of their time. It will extend capabilities of Army Aviation on the modern battlefield – and is designed to fit in the same footprint as a BLACK HAWK. With DEFIANT X, the U.S. Army will deliver troops and cargo in future combat at twice the range of the current fleet.

«It’s what we call building combat power rapidly, and aircraft like the DEFIANT X can do that», said Tony Crutchfield, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and now vice president of Army Systems at Boeing. «In the Pacific, it’s even more important because your lines of operation are going to be dispersed over a wide area; you’re going to have these small bases and supply lines that’ll be positioned either on ships or on islands. You’re going to want to move more assets, maneuver in confined terrain and survive to build that combat power faster than your adversary can – so you can win».

DEFIANT X incorporates Sikorsky X2 Technology to operate at high speeds while maintaining low-speed handling qualities. This critical capability provides pilots with increased maneuverability and survivability in high-threat environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defenses while reducing exposure to enemy fire. DEFIANT X’s X2 coaxial rotor system and pusher prop allows for a high degree of maneuverability in and around the objective which is also directly linked to survivability.

DEFIANT achievements include:

  • Greater than 60-degree banked turns.
  • Demonstrating mission-relevant cargo capacity by lifting a 5,300-pound/2,404-kg Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System external load.
  • Exceeding 245 knots/282 mph/454 km/h in level flight.
  • Demonstrated Level 1 low-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls.
  • Integration of U.S. Army test pilots into the Defiant program.
  • Based on the Collier Award-winning X2 Technology.

DEFIANT X Tech Demonstrator Shows Low-Level Flight and Confined Area Landing Capabilities