CH-53K Helicopter Program Achieves Successful Critical Design Review

Completion of the System CDR demonstrates that the CH-53K Helicopter Program continues to build on its design foundation.


STRATFORD, Conn., Aug. 3. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation announced today the successful completion of the CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Program Critical Design Review (CDR) event, signaling the program is ready to proceed to assembly, test and evaluation. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

The joint Sikorsky/Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) CH-53K helicopter program team hosted a weeklong meeting in late July to gather stakeholders and key collaborators from government and industry for an in-depth aircraft design review. At the review, the CH-53K team successfully demonstrated that the design meets the system requirements, setting the stage for the next phase of the program. Review participants included members of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, NAVAIR, Sikorsky Aircraft, and 21 major industrial partners who displayed component exhibits that augmented technical presentations.

Over the past four years, the CH-53K helicopter team has successfully completed numerous major reviews, including the System Requirements Review (SRR), System Functional Review (SFR), System Preliminary Design Review (PDR), 77 supplier-level Critical Design Reviews (CDR's), 64 supplier and internal software reviews, and 16 sub-system CDRs.

David Cohen, chairman of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Technical Review Board (TRB) emphasized the Board's approval with a "resounding yes," adding that "the CH-53K helicopter program is ready for full- scale development and manufacture of the test aircraft."

Completion of the System CDR event demonstrates that the CH-53K Helicopter Program continues to build on its strong design foundation. NAVAIR CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Integrated Product Team Co-lead, Lt. Col. Hank Vanderborght noted, "We have a program that sits squarely on solid technical ground, and our team continues to work diligently as we mitigate all schedule and cost risks."

Over 93% of the design has been released for manufacturing. System-level performance projections indicate all seven Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) will be achieved with adequate risk mitigation margin built-in for subsequent phases of the program. The team is ready to move into fabrication and assembly of test articles, component qualification, and flight test.

"This successful CDR confirms the program is on the right track and is a significant step forward for the CH-53K helicopter program," said John Johnson, Sikorsky Program Manager for the CH-53K helicopter program. "Sikorsky and NAVAIR are well aligned in this collaborative effort, and this CDR brings us closer to delivering a vital tool to the U.S. Marine Corps' future heavy lift mission."

Sikorsky has been building CH-53 helicopters for the Marine Corps since the CH-53A aircraft was introduced in 1963. The heavy lift mission is currently performed by the Sikorsky CH-53E SUPER STALLION(TM) helicopter and CH-53D SEA STALLION helicopter models that have logged a cumulative total of 1.37 million flight hours in over 40 years.

Sikorsky Aircraft received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract on April 5, 2006 to develop a replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. The new aircraft program is planned to include production of more than 200 aircraft. Currently, the CH-53K helicopter is in the SDD phase with all of the major subcontracts awarded and valued at over $1.1B.

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