Four additional test aircraft are being prepared for flight test, commencing in late 2014. During the three-year flight test program, Sikorsky will continue to evaluate the GTV for long-term endurance of the engines and dynamic components, survivability, and maintenance practices.
"We have entered a much anticipated phase in this developmental program," said Col. Robert Pridgen, U.S. Marine Corps Program Manager for Heavy Lift Helicopters. "We have experienced significant learning at the sub-system and component level, which continues to build our confidence in the capabilities of the 53K. We look forward to the initial validation and discovery at a full system level."
Sikorsky leads an industry team developing the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps. The aircraft's 88,000-pound (39,916 kg) maximum gross weight is designed to triple the external load carrying capacity of the CH-53E SUPER STALLION™ aircraft to more than 27,000 pounds over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles under "high hot" ambient conditions.
The U.S. Department of Defense's Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K aircraft with a U.S. Marine Corps Initial Operational Capability in 2019. Eventual production quantities would be determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition priorities. The Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries. This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning opportunities for development, production and sale of helicopters. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices, budget plans, availability of funding and in the type and number of aircraft required; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.