The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Sikorsky Aircraft a $232 million contract for the procurement of another two CH-53K system demonstration helicopters.
The service initially ordered four aircraft from the company in 2013 in order to carry out operational evaluation of the new helicopter system and than ordered additional two in April 2014.
Work on the latest order is expected to be completed by February 2020.
U.S. Navy’s CH-53K program is a $25.5 billion, 200-helicopter undertaking aimed at replacing the U.S. Marines’ ageing CH-53E Super Stallion.
Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky achieved a significant U.S. Marine Corps requirement when the CH-53K flew 100ft above the ground with a 12,250kg payload, thereby tripling the external load carrying capacity of the current CH-53E.
The new helicopters will have a gross weight of 39.9t and will be powered by three General Electric T408-GE-400 engines.
The helicopter has an Initial Operational Capability set for 2019.