On June 25 , 2021, Lockheed Martin announced a new contract from the U.S. Navy to build nine CH-53K heavy lift helicopters.
The helicopters will be built at Sikorsky's facility in Stratford, Connecticut.
The nine helicopters are part of a 200 aircraft Program of Record for the U.S. Marine Corps for a total of 33 production aircraft under contract. Three of the 33 have already been delivered to the Corps. Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the nine additional aircraft in 2024.
Since October 2020, Sikorsky has delivered three operational CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1, VMX-1, has begun flying the CH-53K aircraft as they prepare for the next phase of assessment known as Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, (IOT&E). Marines will evaluate how the CH-53K helicopter performs in fleet operating conditions at sea, in sand and lifting external loads.
The CH-53K 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.
The production award includes an agreement for the next production contract at a lower unit price which will decrease if additional quantity options are exercised, resulting in savings for the U.S. government and taxpayers.
Sikorsky and the U.S. Navy also agreed to an even lower aircraft price for the next production contract of nine helicopters, to be exercised no later than February 2022.