Sikorsky awarded US Navy order for 35 new CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters

The $2.7 billion contract includes eight aircraft destined for Israel that will be used in special operations.

The US Navy signed a contract with Sikorsky to receive an additional 35 CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters, valued at US$2.7 billion.

The aircraft will be delivered from 2026 and used by the Marines, the company explained. Eight CH-53Ks, however, are destined for Israel, for use in special operations, and will join the other four helicopters already on order.

“This contract award for 35 CH-53K helicopters stabilizes Sikorsky’s nationwide supply base, creates additional production efficiencies, and provides the U.S. Marine Corps with transformative 21st century technologies,” said Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky. “Our long-standing partnership led to this best value contract award providing the capability and readiness the Marines need.”

The CH-53K is a modernized version of the well-known helicopter, in service since the mid-1960s.

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Rendering of CH-53K in Israeli colors (Sikorsky)

Called the King Stallion, the CH-53K had full production declared by the US Navy in December 2022, paving the way for the Marine Corps to have more aircraft in the coming years.

Replacement of the CH-53E, the new version can carry 27,000 pounds (12,247 kgs) of payload over distances of up to 110 nautical miles (203 km).

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Additionally, Sikorsky equipped the aircraft with fly-by-wire controls and a glass cockpit. The CH-53K’s main competitor is the CH-47 Chinook, from Boeing, which recently defeated it in an order placed by Germany.

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