(Article courtesy of Tactical Life)
We’ve all seen the news reports about the spiraling costs associated with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Well, the Marine Corps’ CH-53K King Stallion has found itself in the crosshairs for the exact same reason, as Sikorsky‘s new heavy-lift helicopter will likely exceed the per unit cost of the F-35A.
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According to DOD Buzz, the CH-53K King Stallion, which will replace the CH-53E Super Stallion first introduced back in 1981, started off with an estimated baseline price of around $95 million per unit. But, when speaking before a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing, Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass. said that price had increased by around 14 percent, and the Corps had provided information to House lawmakers which confirmed that the per unit cost of the CH-53K was now expected to balloon 22 percent to a whopping $122 million.
“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 the hearing. “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.”
The latest batch of Lockheed F-35As cost $94.6 million per unit. The Corps’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C cost just over $120 million per unit, DOD Buzz said.
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Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky