Navair Gives GE Aviation $140M to Start Low-Rate Production on CH-53K Engines

By S.L. Fuller | November 24, 2017
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Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

GE Aviation has won more than $140 million from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) to support Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion. A low-rate initial production contract has GE building 22 T480-GE-400 engines.

The Navy gave GE formal approval following the manufacturing and development phase. According to the company, the deal supports a 2019 initial operating capability (IOC) program milestone. It also includes logistics support, technical publications and organic support development.


Needing three 7,378-rated shaft horsepower T408s, the King Stallion is designed to carry a 27,000-pound external load over a mission radius of 110 nm. According to GE, this is triple the external load carrying capacity of the CH-53E model currently in service. The Echo is powered by GE’s T64, which provides 57% less power than the T408. The T408 also gets 18% better specific fuel consumption and 63% fewer parts. It also features a more rugged compressor design.

So far in its program, the T408 has exceeded 8,500 hours of testing. The development and demonstration phase, which required delivery of one core demonstrator engine, five factory test engines and 20 flight test engines. GE said it has shipped 20 system demonstration test article engines so far and is obligated to deliver two more through next year.

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