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Sikorsky begins test operations for CH-53K helicopter

The heavy lift helicopter CH-53K. A Sikorsky photo

STRATFORD, CONNECTICUT (BNS): Sikorsky Aircraft is set to begin testing of the key systems to be installed on the CH-53K helicopter, the new heavy lift aircraft being built for the US Marine Corps.

The company said a new Systems Integration Lab (SIL) was formally turned on recently to begin operations where each subsystem will be evaluated independently before progressing to a fully integrated aircraft-representative test configuration.

Sikorsky Aircraft was awarded $ 3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract to develop a replacement for the US Marine Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter.

Currently, the CH-53K helicopter is in the SDD phase with more than 99 percent of the major subcontracts awarded and valued at more than $1.1B.

The helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under “hot high” ambient conditions, Sikorsky said.

The CH-53E helicopter is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport personnel and equipment and to carry external cargo loads.

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