May 28 (UPI) -- Sikorsky was awarded a $17.9 million contract modification Thursday for work on the H-53K helicopter.
Under the modification Sikorsky, a division of Lockheed Martin, will provide logistics, program management, training, configuration management and sustaining engineering support for the H-53K system.
The CH-53K King Stallion, which has been in development since 2006, is a cargo helicopter currently being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps to replace the aging CH-53-E Super Stallion fleet.
The new aircraft are designed to be faster and more fuel-efficient than their predecessors.
Initially expected to reach initial operational capacity by 2015, but has been delayed in part due to defects like one addressed in December that allowed exhaust gases to get sucked back into the engine.
The modification includes pre-operational test and evaluation, maintenance and software updates and other maintenance work.
The contract can also fund procurement of support equipment and common support equipment.
More than half of work on the contract will be performed in Shelton, Conn., with other work being performed in New River, N.C., Patuxent River, Md., and Bohemia, N.Y.