Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, to provide for the Lot I low-rate initial production of two CH-53K heavy lift helicopters.
The CH-53K King Stallion is a large heavy-lift cargo helicopter designed to replace the Marine Corps fleet of CH-53E heavy-lift helicopters. The CH-53K is a general redesign of the CH-53E. This order also covers aircraft and programmatic support, logistics support, peculiar support equipment, and spare parts.
The CH-53K will have new engines and cockpit layout, and will have more than twice the lift capacity and combat radius of the CH-53E. A wider cargo hold to enable the new aircraft to carry a Humvee internally, and will have new composite rotor blades. It will use the General Electric GE38-1B engine.
The CH-53K first flew in late 2015, and the helicopter is to be introduced to Marine Corps squadrons next year. The Marines plan to buy 227 CH-53K helicopters for about $23.3 billion.
Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is providing the CH-53K's avionics management system; Sanmina-SCI Corp. in San Jose, Calif., is providing the new helicopter's intercommunications System; and Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., is providing the CH-53 cockpit and cabin. Other major subcontractors are GKN Aerospace in Redditch, England; and Onboard Systems International in Vancouver, Wash.
Rockwell Collins is providing the company's Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) for the CH-53K. The CAAS integrates several communications, navigation and mission subsystems through its Flight2 system. It uses common reusable processing elements in an open-systems architecture based on commercial standards.
The Rockwell Collins CAAS avionics initially was developed for the Special Operations Forces' MH-47 and MH-60 helicopter fleets. In addition to the CH-53K, CAAS avionics also has been selected for the CH-47F, MH-60T, MH-65E, and VH-60N aircraft.
The Sanmina-SCI FireComm Intercommunications Control System for the CH-53K uses digital processing techniques and controls. Its system architecture uses the MIL-STD-1553 avionics data bus; the IEEE 1394b data bus; 10/100 Base-T Ethernet; and TIA/EIA-485 interface ports.
On this order Sikorsky will do the work in Stratford, Conn., and should be finished by December 2021. For more information contact Sikorsky Aircraft online at www.lockheedmartin.com/us/what-we-do/aerospace-defense/sikorsky.html, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.
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