Lockheed Martin announced the CH-53K King Stallion, which is powered by GE Aviation's T408-GE-400 turboshaft engine, successfully passed its Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) review and achieved a Milestone C decision that approves low rate initial production (LRIP).
GE Aviation expects the LRIP contract to be awarded later this year to support planned CH-53K initial operating capability (IOC) in 2019. The LRIP contract will include logistics support, technical publications and NAVAIR organic support development. The T408 achieved qualification in February 2016 after completing a rigorous series of tests in support of the U.S. Marine Corps' CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter.
"This approval of the Milestone C for the CH-53K by the Marine Corps is an endorsement of the superior capability and production readiness of the King Stallion and the T408 engine," said Paul Acquaviva, T408 Program Director at GE Aviation. "This decision will enable the United States Marines Corps to move the T408 engine into production, providing unprecedented performance for the war-fighter."
Three 7,332-rated shaft horsepower T408 engines will provide the power for the King Stallion, enabling the aircraft to carry a 27,000-pound external load over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in high and hot weather conditions, which triples the external load carrying capacity of the service's current CH-53E Super Stallion powered by GE Aviation's T64 engine. The U.S. Navy program of record is for 200 aircraft.
When compared to its predecessor — the T64 turboshaft engine that powers the Super Stallion aircraft - the T408 will provide more than 57 percent more power, 18 percent better specific fuel consumption and 63 percent fewer parts. The T408 features a more rugged compressor design to increase durability and resistance to sand erosion and salt water corrosion — features ideal to withstand the Marine Corps' tough operating environment.
The T408 system development and demonstration phase delivered one core demonstrator engine, five factory test engines and 20 flight test engines to the CH-53K program. The engine has exceeded 7,700 hours of testing, including 4,500 hours in the factory and more than 3,200 operating hours in the ground test vehicle and four flight test vehicles. GE Aviation has shipped 17 SDTA engines so far and is on contract to deliver a total of 22 through 2017.
GE Supply Chain facilities in Lynn, MA; Hooksett, NH; Rutland, VT; Madisonville, KY, Dayton, OH, and Jacksonville, FL will all provide parts for this contract.