This contract will fund engineering trade studies, configuration definition, and related program planning activities. It is a follow-on to a previous $34 million contract awarded to Sikorsky in 2004 for the initial round of HLR risk reduction work.
The HLR program calls for development and procurement of 156 new-build helicopters derived from the CH-53E Super Stallion. First deliveries are planned for 2014. The exact development schedule and procurement quantities are determined by yearly budget authorizations and specific contract awards.
In a related decision, the Navy also released an Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) authorizing the HLR program to work toward Milestone B approval in Fiscal Year 2006. If granted by the Pentagon's Defense Acquisition Board, Milestone B approval will authorize the HLR program to move into the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase, the next step required under Department of Defense procurement procedures.
Between 1980 and 1999 Sikorsky delivered approximately 150 CH-53E helicopters to the Marine Corps. The new HLR will feature upgraded, engines, improved rotor blades, new avionics, new rotorhead, improved survivability, and longer service life. A 2003 Marine Corps analysis of alternatives determined that Sikorsky is the only known qualified source capable of delivering the HLR helicopter by 2014.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.