STRATFORD, Conn., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Sikorsky Aircraft's CH-53K Helicopter Systems Engineering Team has won the U.S. Department of Defense Systems Engineering Top 5 Programs Award.
The National Defense Industry Association presented the award to the CH-53K Helicopter Systems Engineering Team -- consisting of both Naval Air Systems Command and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation engineers – on Thursday in recognition of excellence in the application of systems engineering practices.
"The evaluation team, made up of senior individuals from across the Department of Defense, felt that the CH-53K program's efforts are clearly in keeping with the award's intent to honor programs that 'demonstrate successful implementation of systems engineering best practices resulting in program success,'" said Col. Donald W. Robbins, chairman of the Top 5 Awards Evaluation Team.
David Zack, Sikorsky's CH-53K Helicopter program manager, said the recognition is extremely rewarding and validates the approach taken by the CH-53K Systems Engineering Team, including its government partners as well as its 150 industry partners, to integrate systems engineering process and principles from the program's inception.
The CH-53K Helicopter Ground Test Vehicle, the first of five prototype aircraft to be built, is being built at Sikorsky's Florida Assembly and Flight Operations facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The CH-53K heavy lift helicopter will replace the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter. First flight is expected during fiscal year 2014.
The CH-53K helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under "high hot" ambient conditions.
The CH-53K helicopter's maximum gross weight with internal loads is 74,000 pounds compared to 69,750 pounds for the CH-53E aircraft.