Sikorsky Aircraft has agreed on a contract with The Protective Group (TPG) to make armor for the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) new and upcoming helicopter, the CH-53K King Stallion.
TPG is a company that is part of Point Blank Enterprises. The company primarily deals with armor – for both personnel and vehicles – and on their website, the company describes themselves as an “industry leader in developing survivability solutions.”
Under the contract, TPG will create a kit that is considered lightweight. This kit will be made of ballistic panels, which will be installed below the cabin, on the ramp floor, and the side frames of the cabin.
Mark Edwards, the Business Development executive vice president of Point Blank Enterprises, spoke on working with Sikorsky.
“Our experience in rapid development and fielding of reliable lightweight aircraft survivability solutions was key to Sikorsky’s decision to select us as their CH-53K program partner,” Edwards said. “We are incredibly proud that Sikorsky selected us to provide a survivability package for such an important and long-term program.”
While many of Point Blank Enterprises focuses on military armor and “survivability solutions,” it also creates these for commercial air and other sea and land endeavors.
The CH-53K King Stallion is defined as a heavy-lift helicopter with multiple engines and is capable of being dual-piloted. This helicopter will make heavy lifting operations more cost-efficient by reducing expenses for the USMC.
The CH-53K can go on an array of missions, including: troop transportation, humanitarian aid missions, special operations, search and rescue for combat, and casualty evacuation. This helicopter is capable of carrying 27,000 pounds and can operate in hot conditions in altitudes of 3,000 feet.
As far as helicopters go, the CH-53K is a fairly new helicopter. Its first flight was on October 27, 2015, and the helicopter has not officially been introduced for service yet. A total of 200 helicopters are expected to be delivered to USMC. The budget for the CH-53K helicopter program is $25 billion. Each unit is estimated to be worth $87.1 million.
Aside from the United States, the helicopter is expected to make appearances worldwide. Germany has ordered a shipment of 40 helicopters that are expected to be delivered in 2023. Israel and Japan have shown an interest in purchasing these helicopter as well.