The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Sikorsky a $372 million contract for the production and delivery of four CH-53K heavy lift helicopters for Israel.
According to a US Department of Defense contract announcement, work on the first four of overall 12 helicopters is expected to be completed by November 2025.
This production announcement follows Israel’s approval for the purchase of the helicopters for an estimated $2 billion in December last year. It also comes on the heels of a contract to produce nine more aircraft for the US Marine Corps.
The CH-53K helicopters will replace the Israeli Air Force (IAF) fleet of modified CH-53D Yasur helicopters, which have been in Israel’s inventory for over 50 years.
CH-53K is designed to lift nearly 14 tons (27,000 lbs) at a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in high and hot environments. Powered by three General Electric T-408 engines, the helicopter can carry 30 passengers or troops and is capable of lifting almost triple the baseline CH-53E lift capability. It also introduces lower operating costs per aircraft, and less direct maintenance man hours per flight hour.
“We are building on decades of experience and partnership in supporting the CH-53E for the Marine Corps and the CH53D for the IAF. Sikorsky has a deep understanding of the world-wide heavy lift mission enabling our team and proven supply chain to offer tailored solutions resulting in more efficient missions,“ said Paul Lemmo, president, Sikorsky. “We are committed to provide training and sustainment support to ensure a smooth entry into service for the IAF.”
The aircraft will be manufactured at Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, leveraging the company’s digital build and advanced technology production processes.