In June 2015, Spirit AeroSystems announced that they have delivered the third fuselage section to Sikorsky for the United States Marine Corps’ CH-53K “King Stallion” heavy lift helicopter program. This delivery is under the CH-53K program’s system demonstration and test article (SDTA) contract. The new fuselage is composite skinned and includes an integrated cockpit and cabin structure that has its tail section separately attached.
"Spirit AeroSystems is pleased to be a major supplier to a new-generation, heavy-lift helicopter capability for the Marine Corps,” said Phil Anderson, Senior Vice President of Spirit Defense Programs. "The strong, lightweight composite structures we are providing to Sikorsky will in turn give the Marine Corps a much needed increase in payload capability." With the addition of this new fuselage, Sikorsky can now begin assembling the third out of four SDTA aircraft.
Back in 2013, Sikorsky signed a contract with the Navy in which they were responsible for both assembling and delivering four SDTA aircraft to the US Marine Corps by 2017. The USMC will employ the four SDTA aircraft to assess its capability to carry 27,000 pounds more per 110 nautical miles under 'high-hot' ambient conditions. They will replace the existing CH-53E Super Stallion models. The new helicopters will feature enhanced payload, range, and hot-high capabilities. They are expected to deliver reliable and cost-effective, low-maintenance, and survivable solutions in almost any condition.
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