Under the terms of the SDD contract, Sikorsky will oversee aircraft development, systems integration, test article production and test and evaluation activities on a sole source basis. The SDD contract could lead to the production of 156 CH-53K aircraft to replace roughly an equal number of CH-53E SUPER STALLIONTM in the Marine Corps' current inventory. Development money and production quantities are determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and Pentagon acquisition priorities.
SDD engineering and program administration activity will be centered at Sikorsky's Stratford facility and begin immediately.
"For more than two decades the Sikorsky CH-53E SUPER STALLION has been the most capable marinized heavy-lift helicopter in the world. The new CH-53K promises a marked improvement in payload, range, and 'hot-high' capabilities and it will be the only aircraft equipped the meet the Marine Corps' unique and demanding requirements. We thank the Marine Corps for showing confidence in Sikorsky to develop and build a new aircraft that is vital to the nation and our armed forces," Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino said.
The three-engine Sikorsky CH-53E SUPER STALLION is the largest, most powerful marinized helicopter in the world. It is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport personnel and equipment, and to carry external (sling) loads.
Sikorsky is currently conducting competitions to select suppliers for the CH-53K major sub-systems, including the avionics management system and the engine. Sub-system supplier selection is scheduled to finish later in 2006.
The CH-53K will maintain virtually the same footprint as the CH-53E, but will nearly double the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under "hot high" ambient conditions. The CH-53K's maximum gross weight will increase to 84,700 pounds versus 73,000 pounds for the CH-53E.
The upgrades slated for the CH-53K include: joint interoperable glass cockpit fly-by-wire flight controls; high-efficiency rotor blade with anhedral tip; low-maintenance elastomeric rotorhead; gross weight expansion; upgraded engine system; cargo rail locking system; external cargo handling improvements and survivability enhancements; and reduced operation and support costs.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning future business opportunities. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices or in the number of aircraft to be built; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.