Lockheed Martin said Friday it has netted a $300 million contract to begin producing CH-53K King Stallions, a helicopter that the military claims will revolutionize battlefield logistics.
The defense giant's company Sikorsky will build two of the King Stallions in Connecticut and deliver them to the Marine Corps by 2020 as part of the initial production contract, Lockheed said.
The CH-53K has three times more lift and more cabin room than its predecessor, the CH-53E Super Stallion, making it more capable of moving cargo, supplies and troops.
"We have just successfully launched the production of the most powerful helicopter our nation has ever designed," said Col. Hank Vanderborght, the program manager for Naval Air Systems Command. "This incredible capability will revolutionize the way our nation conducts business in the battle space by ensuring a substantial increase in logistical through-put into that battle space."
The Defense Department intends to ultimately buy 200 of the King Stallions. The Marines are planning for eight active-duty squadrons, a training squadron, and reserve squadron, according to Lockheed.