STRATFORD, Conn. -- U.S. Senator Chris Murphy praised the successful first flight of the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, which was made by Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft.
“The Department of Defense has come to rely on Sikorsky’s unparalleled reliability and performance," Murphy (D-Conn.) said in his statement. "Once again, with the successful first flight of the CH-53K, Sikorsky is living up to their remarkable reputation."
The new helicopter "will be essential to the Marine Corps’ land and sea-based operations, and will be the biggest and largest payload aircraft in the fleet,” he said.
The $25.5 billion CH-53K program will replace the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and provide 50 percent more power, enabling more Marines and equipment to be transported greater distances.
The Marine Corps plans to purchase 200 aircraft, which will have critical components manufactured in Stratford, and expects to field the first operational squadron in 2019.