Third CH-53K fuselage delivered by Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit is under contract to deliver to Sikorsky four of the composites-intensive System Demonstration and Test Articles (SDTA) of the King Stallion heavy lift helicopter fuselage.

Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, KS, US) reported on June 22 that it has successfully delivered to Sikorsky (Stratford, CT, US) the third fuselage section for the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter program’s System Demonstration and Test Article (SDTA) contract.

Consisting of an integrated cockpit and cabin structure with a separately attached tail section, the composite-skinned fuselage will enable prime contractor Sikorsky to begin assembling the third of four SDTA aircraft to further solidify the final production configuration of the CH-53K aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps. 

Sikorsky came under contract to the US Navy in 2013 to assemble and deliver the four SDTA aircraft by 2017 in support of the Marine Corps' operational evaluation of the CH-53K platform. Spirit is on contract to deliver to Sikorsky the final SDTA fuselage unit later this year.

The US Marine Corps will employ the four SDTA aircraft to verify the helicopter’s design capability to carry 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under “high hot” ambient conditions, tripling the external load carrying capacity of the current CH-53E SUPER STALLION helicopter.

“Spirit AeroSystems is pleased to be a major supplier to a new generation, heavy-lift helicopter capability for the Marine Corps,” says Phil Anderson, Spirit senior vice president of Defense Programs. “The strong, lightweight composite structures we are providing to Sikorsky will in turn give the Marine Corps a much needed increase in payload capability.”