April 4 Lockheed Martin Corp received
Pentagon approval on Tuesday to begin production of 200 new
heavy cargo helicopters for the U.S. Marines, the Department of
The long-expected award for the CH-53K King Stallion will on
average cost $87 million each and $105 million including spare
parts and certain service contracts, a Defense Department
official had told Reuters last week.
The approval of the $27 billion program, which includes more
than $6 billion in research and development costs, is a major
milestone for the largest U.S. defense contractor.
The new helicopter, developed by Lockheed's Sikorsky
helicopter business, can lift 36,000 pounds and would replace
the CH-53E Super Stallion, which has operated as the backbone of
field logistics for the U.S. Marines since the mid-1980s.
The first four helicopters are scheduled for delivery next
year, with another two to follow, the Defense Department said.
The Marine Corps intends to transition eight active duty
squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron from
CH-53E to CH-53K, according to the statement.
(Reporting by Komal Khettry in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil