| March 28
March 28 Lockheed Martin Corp is
expected to receive Pentagon approval on Thursday to begin
production for 200 new heavy cargo helicopters for the U.S.
Marines, a Defense Department official said on Tuesday.
The long-expected award for the CH-53K King Stallion will
cost $87 million on average each and $105 million including
spare parts and certain service contracts, said Colonel Hank
Vanderborght, who heads the program for the Pentagon. The $27
billion program also includes more than $6 billion in research
and development costs.
The new helicopter, in development by Lockheed's Sikorsky
helicopter business, can lift 36,000 pounds and would replace
the CH-53E Super Stallion, which has operated as the backbone of
field logistics for the U.S. Marines since the mid-1980s.
The Pentagon's Defense Acquisition Board will meet on
Thursday and it is expected to approve the beginning of
production of the new helicopter, Vanderborght told Reuters. A
Lockheed Martin representative declined to comment.
The expected approval by the Pentagon's Defense Acquisition
Board would be a major milestone for the largest U.S. defense
contractor. Final terms of the production deal still are being
finalized, a Defense Department official said.
Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson told reporters at the company's
annual media day last week that the 2015 purchase of helicopter
maker Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp for for $9
billion helped reshape the company.
(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Bill