Lockheed Martin has won a contract to manufacture six more CH-53 King Stallion helicopters that are intended to carry out heavy lift missions for the US Marine Corps.
The missions of the helicopters are to include carrying armored vehicles and transporting supplies and forces from bases on land to centers of Marine operations at sea. The six helicopters are part of a plan by the Marines to acquire 200 K helicopters. The head of the Marine Corps’ program executive office for special mission programs, Gen. Greg Masiello, said "The capability and affordability of the CH-53K is important to ensure that we provide a valuable addition to the United States Marine Corps and our friends and allies."
K helicopters are designed to be aircraft that are reliable on the battlefield and highly durable, with low maintenance costs and capable of flying in conditions of low visibility and high temperatures and altitudes. The helicopter has already accumulated more than 2,000 flight hours and completed the flight tests. Its accomplishments included different types of hovering, flight speed of 200 knots, an altitude of 18,500 feet, gunfire testing, and takeoffs and landings on slopes of up to 12 degrees.
The K helicopter is one of the two candidates that the Israeli Air Force is considering for replacement of its aging Yasour helicopters. The other candidate is the Boeing Chinook.