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CH-53K Helicopter Achieves USMC Testing Milestones Toward IOC

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The CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter made by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky subsidiary has made testing progress toward initial operational capability later in the year and the green light for full-rate production in 2023.

The helicopter underwent seven months of initial operational test and evaluation through March under Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One in North Carolina, Lockheed said Tuesday.

The IOT&E’s completion follows a number of CH-53K program milestones including sea trials, air-to-air refueling and the deliver of the first six production units. The program’s IOC requires the delivery of four CH-53K units, associated equipment, technical documents and initial spare parts to the first squadron.

Lockheed produces the helicopter in Stratford, Connecticut, with three units scheduled to be delivered within the year.

The U.S. Marine Corps will use the helicopter to transport armored vehicles, personnel and equipment for expeditionary missions.