Sunday, September 03, 2017

Is the CH-53K worth the price when we could buy the CH-47 at less than half the price?

First lets take a look back at an article I posted a couple of day ago...
Naval Air Systems Command awarded Sikorsky $304 million for the first two CK-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters for the Marine Corps.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, will build these two Lot I aircraft in its Stratford, Conn., facility, and the work should be completed by December 2021.
I highlighted what I consider the pertinent information.  We are paying $304 million dollars for TWO (2) helicopters.  The second is that these are LOT I aircraft.

Drink that in.

We're gonna pay one hundred fifty two million dollars each for a heavy lift helicopter.  What do we get with the 53K that we wouldn't get with the CH-47F?  Well I got a few slides from Boeing's presentation to the German AF and it's pretty interesting.  Check out the slides below (I admit up front that this is Boeing's argument against a Lockheed product but put that aside and wait till the end to judge).

Interesting huh?  But kinda irrelevant.  We know the Chinook is superior in those realms for one reason.  It's rotor configuration.  What matters in the "aviation centric" Marine Corps (besides hot and high performance...that was once HUGE for the USMC) is speed and range.
The CH-47F goes along at 170 knot or 196 mph.  It has a combat radius of 200 nmi (230 miles) , a ferry range of 1,216 nmi (1,400 miles) and a range of 400 nmi (450 miles) .  Finally it can lift 55 troops, 24 liters w/3 attendants or 24,000 pounds.

The CH-53K has a speed of 170 knots (196 mph).  It has a combat radius of 110 nmi (126 miles) with a ferry range of *NOT LISTED* but a combat radius of 460 nmi (529 miles).  It can lift 55 troops, liters are *NOT LISTED* or 35,000 pounds.
Admittedly all these figures are from Wikipedia, but if you have clearly better sources I'm all ears.

Operating with what we know, the CH-53K is only MARGINALLY better than the CH-47F and EXTREMELY MORE EXPENSIVE than it's Army counterpart.

Now to the question.

Is one CH-53K at around 100 million dollars each (and I'm taking into account cost reduction...pretty significant cost reductions to get it down to 100 million dollars) worth two CH-47F's at around 40 million (yep I got that figure from Wikipedia but they have EXCELLENT documentation to back up that number)?

My answer is NO!  Not only no but hell no!

Second question, and don't shower me with bullshit.  How can the Marine Corps justify the cost of this helicopter?  If you're a supporter of this program HOW CAN YOU justify it's cost?

I look forward to the fan club's response!

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