As the King Stallion approaches early production, and an increase in the original order by the Marines by 25 percent or more, now Germans are also eyeing the ultra heavy rotorcraft to replace their ageing older Stallions.
Germany is reportedly interested in buying 40 King Stallions to replace their older CH-53G/GA/GS aircraft, program officials said Monday at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference.
The King Stallion is of the most expensive aircrafts (price per unit) ever built, surpassing even the infamous F35A JSF in unit cost, reportedly reaching unit cost of about $ 122 million — and there are indications it could rise further.
This interest by Germans is welcomed by the service as they see it as a prospect of bringing down the unit cost and make the development of additional capabilities more efficient.
Although the estimated unit cost is now expected to be around $87 million per copy when the King Stallion hits full-fledged production in the mid-20s, making the chopper about $12 million more expensive than the Marines’ MV-22 Osprey.
Other potential customers of the helo may include Israel, which also has a legacy CH-53 Sea Stallion program, said Dr. Michael Torok, vice president of CH-53K program for Lockheed Martin.
Reportedly US Navy is also interested in a specialised Naval variant capable of undertaking missions like Minesweeping, of the King Stallion just like ervice’s current MH-53E Sea Dragon choppers.
The first CH-53K aircraft are expected to reach initial operational capability in 2019. They are designed to carry an external load of 27,000 pounds, more than three times the capacity of the CH-53E Super Stallion, and feature a wider cabin to carry troops and gear.
Pic credits – Lockheed Martin