The weapon company Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky has signed a manufacturing contract with the American navy for 35 CH-53K helicopters in the US, at a total value of 2.7 billion dollars. Eight of these helicopters will be delivered to the Israeli Air Force as part of a new production contract.
The eight Israeli helicopters in the new manufacturing contract will join the four helicopters that were signed for production last year, as part of a military sale deal to a foreign country that includes a total of 12 helicopters for the State of Israel. The delivery of the helicopters from the new production contracts is expected to commence in 2026.
The helicopters that will replace the "Yas'ur"
The CH-53K helicopters are planned to gradually replace the "Yas'ur" helicopters of the Israeli Air Force, which have been performing a variety of missions for over 50 years. The new helicopters bring with them advanced capabilities, including high survivability in the combat field, safety, efficiency, and reduced workload on the aircrew. Additionally, technical support for the new helicopters is easier, more efficient, and cost-effective compared to the older helicopters.
By the end of 2022, the US Navy approved Lockheed Martin Sikorsky's transition to full-rate production of the CH-53K helicopter at the company's facilities in Stratford, Connecticut. Full-rate production will allow the company to increase its helicopter production rate to 20 helicopters in the coming years. The decision to approve full-rate production will be supported by approximately 200 suppliers in 35 states across the United States. This support will help reduce costs and streamline the supply chain for Lockheed Martin Sikorsky and its partners worldwide.
Paul Lemmo, President of Sikorsky, stated that "the production of an additional 35 helicopters in the CH-53K helicopter program is a very significant achievement and a milestone in the program. It will help continue and streamline the supply chain and accelerate the helicopter production rate."