Pentagon Going to Throw $29B at Lockheed for King Stallion Helicopter

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The Pentagon is going to approve a $29 billion program for a new helicopter from Lockheed Martin Corp. for the US Marine Corps.

Pentagon Going to Throw $29B at Lockheed for King Stallion Helicopter

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

The Pentagon is going to review and probably approve the CH-53K King Stallion, a new helicopter from Lockheed Martin Corp., which will be more expensive than the F-35, the Bloomberg news agency reported on Monday.

Reportedly, the King Stallion is designed to transport heavy cargo for the Marine Corps and should replace the Super Stallion. A meeting to review whether to approve production for the first 24 of the 200 planned helicopters in a program valued at as much as $29 billion has been scheduled to be held on March 30 by the Defense Acquisition Board.

According to Lockheed’s chief financial officer, Bruce Tanner, Lockheed Martin Corp. acquired the Sikorsky helicopter unit, which became a base for the CH-53K King Stallion, from United Technologies Corp. in 2015.

“Frankly, when we acquired Sikorsky it was the 53K program that drove most of our valuation as to why we wanted to own Sikorsky,” Bloomberg quoted Tanner’s words.

Tanner noted that he expects CH-53K Stallion sales, particularly in the overseas markets, will generate the “lion’s share” of revenue from the Sikorsky business unit over the “next ten to 15 years.”

However, there are enough many risks to selling US military technology to foreign nations, even if these states are NATO allies.

As Lockheed Martin Corp. noted in a quarterly SEC filing, submitted in January, international sales of the King Stallion pose risks to the company, as such agreements are constrained by “political and economic factors, regulatory requirements, significant competition, taxation, and other risks, associated with doing business in foreign countries.”

Cost estimates for the new helicopter have steadily been rising, and, according to reports, they may continue to rise further. In 2016, projections of the King Stallion’s cost were boosted by 14 percent from the baseline by Lockheed and Pentagon analysts. Recently, it was reported that costs may now baloon 21 percent above the baseline estimate, to reach $122 million per helicopter.

On March 10, Democratic representative Niki Tsongas questioned the aircraft’s currently projected production cost of $122 million per helicopter at a congressional hearing. Tsongas noted that this is “a heck of a lot of money,” adding that “even if there is no additional cost growth, it seems worth pointing out that $122 million per aircraft” exceeds the current cost of Lockheed’s F-35.

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  • Thegr8rambino

    I can think of a million more ways that money could be better spent, or not spent at all!!!

  • Miguel Redondo

    Why they don´t buy a russian helikopter ? I am pretty sure that there are russian choppers which can do the job at a fraction of that cost.

    • Barba_Papa

      The US has almost never bought foreign military equipment. One of the last times they did was the Harrier, which they bought a few, then promply had McDonnel Douglas manufacture their own and then redesign into a new version. Which they then sold back to the British as the Harrier GR.5/7. And just look at the giant stink that was made when Airbus was almost selected to sell the US a new fleet of aerial tankers. They just changed the requirements so only Boeing could meet them. No, not only does the US military prefersto use its native hardware, in this case they’ve been using the similar Super Stallion for decades already, the US military complex demands that the US military only buys US military hardware and US politicians are more then welcome to accommodate this.

      Also buying military equipment from a country they’re currently in a cold war with? They’ll hardly from their own allies.

      • Mikey Harry Harris

        Buying hardware sourced from your own nation is the most logical choice. How many Russian projects are either sitting idle or have been drastically delayed because of the problems with sourcing from the Ukraine companies?

        A superpower should only buy to fill a need until they develop the analogue on their own or license the tech.

    • Pave Way IV

      +1 Miguel. I think the other posters miss the tongue-in-cheek nature of your reply – you beat me to the Russian chopper suggestion.

      I think the U.S. was shooting for something like a Mi-26 competitor, only ‘better’. The problem is that the Russians and Chinese have already moved past the heavy-lift Mi-26T2 and are building a much larger super-heavy-lift chopper that could almost lift the proposed King Stallion. And they’ll be able to build it for half of what a King Stallion will end up costing, so there goes Sikorsky’s foreign military sales.

      China And Russia Team Up To Build World’s Largest, Most Powerful Chopper

      Picture from the article of what I believe is a Mi-26T2

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9dd771cc78432595b481c8199f01f399b873d08dcc2d38227e6c07d7bdbd421c.jpg

      I can see the obvious need for these, but I’m kind of a fixed-wing guy. Heavy-lift helicopters = gigantic flying targets. They truly terrify me.

  • Bob

    The Pentagon – Lockheed Martin relationship has developed over last two decades into pure statism. It is a means to recycle vast volumes of public money into private money for a select group in the upper echelon of the politics-military-corporate axis. Massive overpricing on elaborate military hardware means massive public cash recycling.

    • Attrition47

      Typical of the US empire that there is a Leninist economy for rich bastards and a fascist economy for everyone else.

  • Daniel Martin

    That’s a whole lot of cash being burnt on a 50+ year old design.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    We live in a Zionist world, which enables these kinds of atrocities to happen.
    They take your money (just like Stalin always did) and blow it on huge ambitions to take and control other peoples lands.