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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sikorsky Opens CH-53K Assembly Facility

Sikorsky Aircraft has opened a new assembly line facility at its Florida Assembly and Flight Operations (FAFO) campus in West Palm Beach, Fla., for prototypes of the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter.

“The production of the next generation of heavy lift helicopter prototype is underway,” Dennis Jarvi, Sikorsky vice president, Navy and Marine Corps Programs, said March 22.

The 60,000 square foot CH-53K facility, originally the home of Pratt & Whitney-Rocketdyne, has been updated to create a modern assembly area. Five System Development and Demonstration (SDD) aircraft will be built at the FAFO facility, with two additional airframe test articles produced at Sikorsky’s main manufacturing plant in Stratford, Conn. Once assembled, the aircraft will be delivered to the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach to undergo flight testing.

Sikorsky received the $3 billion SDD contract April 5, 2006 to develop a replacement for U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters. Features of the CH-53K, which will nearly triple the payload capacity of its predecessor to 27,000 pounds, include an integrated cockpit built on the Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System and fly-by-wire flight controls.

See the April issue of Avionics Magazine for more on the CH-53K.
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