Sikorsky will build 12 production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters under a new $1.13 billion contract from the U.S. Navy.

These helicopters are part of the 200 to be built for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Under the terms of the contract, known as Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 2 and 3, Sikorsky will begin deliveries of 12 CH-53K helicopters in 2022, and also provide spares and logistical support.

Read the US Navy’s announcement here.

The CH-53K is a sea-based, long range, heavy-lift helicopter. The CH-53K will conduct expeditionary heavy-lift transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations.

According to the firm, the new CH-53K will have heavy-lift capabilities that exceed all other American rotary wing-platforms and it is the only heavy lifter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond.

“Sikorsky employees and our nationwide supply chain are ready to ramp up CH-53K production to support deployment of this modern, safe and reliable aircraft in 2023-2024,” said Sikorsky Programme Director Bill Falk.

“This contract demonstrates the U.S. Marine Corps’ confidence in Sikorsky to expand production of this technologically advanced heavy lift helicopter. We have transformed our factory for the future and implemented a model for all future helicopter programs.

Additionally, our engineers have implemented the latest technologies such as manufacturing simulation and 3D laser inspection technology. These investments in systems, personnel, and our facilities have elevated Sikorsky’s manufacturing technology and capabilities to meet production requirements of the CH-53K for domestic and international customers.”

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Merlin has three engines delivering 2100 shp and CH 53 K has three engines delivering 7,500 shp each, so has three to four times the power of Merlin.


I witnessed one of those mean looking mother f***ers land on the Promenade on Plymouth Hoe Jesus Christ it looked and sounded the business.

Steve Taylor

They are staggering pieces of equipment in the metal. But you do find yourself asking, where is the maritime CH-47?

Paul T

Boeing Sea Knight perhaps ?.

Steve Taylor

There was some inter service rivalry going on; CH46 was too small for the Army . CH53 is big, but perhaps too big. If you look at the spec’s the sweet spot is something CH47 sized.


The King Stallion can lift significantly more than a Chinook, it also has a wider cabin, so can carry more internally. They do have comparable speeds and ranges though. The problem with the Chinook, being a tandem rotor helicopter, is how to arrange the blade fold mechanism. You could model it on the Sea Knight’s, but they have a dreadful maintenance history. Would it be any worse than trying to synchronise a folding 7 blade main rotor head, I doubt very much? One of the design parameters for the QE class was that the lifts and hangar must be able… Read more »

Steve Taylor

Perhaps too big?


Where it originally went? Victim of inter-service politics back in the 60s. The original was CH-46 Sea Knight used by the USN and USMC and was originally supposed to be adopted by the Army also. The Army however decided it was to small and looked for something larger and eventually ordered the larger CH-47 Chinook after that their was just never a large enough order for a dedicated variant.


According to Flight Magazine Boeing is fitting GE 7500 hp engines to a C47 for evaluation purposes. These are the engines fitted to the CH53K. Could we see a naval version of the Chinook in not the too distant future?


To get a Chinook near to the same performance of the King Stallion, yes the engines will need upgrading, but so will the gearboxes and interconnecting drive train. The next thing that will need upgrading are the rotor heads and blades. A four bladed head was tried a few years back, this would be necessary for that amount of power. Currently, the 714 engines fitted our Chinooks and F models are just over 4800shp each or nearly half of a single GE engine. There will need to be significant strengthening to the cabin longitudinal spars, as the increased power will… Read more »


The Merlin works this thing has so many problems it will take years to fix.


The Merlin is about half the size of the King Stallion. A good example of a like for like comparison is the amount of weight it can lift externally. The Merlin can externally lift 5,520kg (12,169lb), whilst the King Stallion can lift 12,200kg (27,000lb). Mind you it has 7 main rotor blades that are 3ft wide and 35ft long.


Merlin is arguably barely medium lift! The Puma HC2 has a greater sling load.