The CH-53K King Stallion flies a test flight in West Palm Beach, Fla. on March 22, 2017.

The CH-53K King Stallion flies a test flight in West Palm Beach, Fla. on March 22, 2017. (( Lance Cpl. Molly Hampton/U.S. Marine Corps))

(Tribune News Service) —Lockheed Martin unit Sikorsky has won a contract worth $2.7 billion to manufacture 35 CH-35K helicopters for the US government, which includes aircraft for Israel. The largest ever procurement for the multi-mission helicopter includes 27 aircraft for the US marines and 8 helicopters for Israel.

This contract brings the number of helicopters to be delivered to Israel to 12, following the initial production announcement last year for the first four aircraft under a US Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement. The first helicopters under the latest contract will be delivered in 2026, although they will not be operational until Israel has installed its own tech systems.

The multi-mission CH-53K will support Israeli special operations programs, and gradually replace the CH-53D helicopter fleet, as well as provide the IDF with a platform that has the speed, safety, survivability and gross weight capability to support all of its missions, including troop and cargo transport, and search-and-rescue.

At the end of 2022, the US Navy authorized Lockheed Martin- Sikorsky to move to full-scale production of the CH-53K helicopter at the company’s plant in Stratford, Connecticut. Full capacity production will allow the company to increase the annual helicopter production rate to 20 in the coming years.

“The production of 35 additional helicopters in the CH-53K helicopter program is a very significant achievement and a milestone in the program, and will help continue to optimize the supply chain as well as speed up the pace of helicopter production,” said Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo.

(c)2023 the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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