The Marine Corps has a new helicopter in the works to replace the CH-53E Super Stallion. Ok, great! The Marines need a new heavy lift chopper but here is what you may not know. The new CH-53K King Stallion, manufactured by Sikorsky/Lockheed is reportedly going to run about 22 percent above initial projections.
Here is the big reveal…that will make each new CH-53K King Stallion come in at around $122 million per helicopter! Consider that the latest purchase of F-35 stealth fighters cost just under $100 million each!
This information is according to Representative Niki Tsongas, Democrat from Massachusetts.
Watch the New CH-53K King Stallion in Action
“The Marine Corps intends to buy 200 of these aircraft, so that cost growth multiplied times 200 is a heck of a lot of money,” Tsongas said during a March 10 hearing before a House Armed Services subcommittee. “And even if there is no additional cost growth, it seems worth pointing out that $122 million per aircraft in 2006 dollars exceeds the current cost of an F-35A aircraft for the Air Force by a significant margin.”
Speaking before the committee March 10, Lt. Gen. Gary Thomas noted that the Marine Corps expected the unit cost to drop to below $89 million when the aircraft enters full-rate production, sometime between 2019 and 2022. As the F-35A unit cost is expected to drop as low as $85 million in the same time-frame, the two programs will remain close in that regard.
“That’s still very expensive; we’re working very hard with the program office and the vendor to keep the cost down and to drive value for the taxpayer,” Thomas said. “In terms of, can we afford it, we do have a plan without our topline that would account for purchases of the new aircraft we desire.” – DoDBuzz
The new CH-53K King Stallion is going to be a superior aircraft to the aging CH-53E Super Stallion. The Marines are hoping to achieve operation capability of the King Stallion in 2019. It will be able to lift a greater external load and have a wider cabin than the Super Stallion.
So what do you think about all this? Is the helicopter worth the price and you get what you pay for? Or are the US taxpayers being taken advantage of? Will President Trump step in on this like he did with the F-35?
Featured image of the Marine Corps Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter during the Roll Out Ceremony at the Sikorsky Headquarters by US Marines via Wikimedia Commons