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Sikorsky awarded $717m to maintain CH-53 heavy lift helicopters

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky was awarded a $717 million contract to maintain the US Navy and Marine Corps’ CH-53E Super Stallions and MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter fleet.

The performance-based logistics contract includes repairs, overhauls, spares, obsolescence mitigation and asset management services over 50 months, ending in December 2022, according to a Department of Defense notice last month and the company’s website on 5 November. Sikorsky’s contract performance will be judged on material availability metrics with additional incentives added for demand reductions, maintainability enhancements and aircraft readiness contributions.

The contract covers logistics and repair support for 98 components, including main and tail rotor blades, main gearbox, main rotor head, flight control components as well as accessories such as refueling probe and cargo system components, according to the DoD notice.

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Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion

Sikorsky

Sikorsky expects the performance-based contract to improve material availability and reduce support cost while increasing overall aircraft readiness, says Pierre Garant, Sikorsky senior program manager for USMC in-service programmes.

The CH-53E Super Stallion is compatible with most of the USMC’s amphibious class ships and is designed to transport heavy materials and supplies. The MH-53E Sea Dragon performs long-range mine-sweeping missions, in addition to heavy-lift duties, for the USN.

There are some 144 CH-53E Super Stallions in service with the US military, almost entirely with the USMC, and have an average age of 32.6 years old, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer. The USN has 27 MH-53E Sea Dragon in service with an average age of 31.7 years.

The maintenance contract is aimed at sustaining the USMC’s fleet until it can be replaced by Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion, a larger and more powerful version of the CH-53E Super Stallion. The first of the type was delivered to the USMC in May 2018, a second delivery is expected in early 2019, with 200 of the helicopters anticipated to be delivered in total.

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