Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. on Friday formally opened its $20 million production-technology center in Stratford centered around building the Marine Corps' next-generation successor to the Super Stallion helicopter.
The Precision Components Technology Center will produce major components of the new CH-53K, such as rotating and stationary swashplates, main and tail rotor hubs, and main rotor sleeves.
Altogether, Sikorsky's parent, United Technologies Corp. in Hartford, has committed $130 million to the CH-53K program.
Sikorsky won a $3 billion contract from the Marines in 2006 for more than 200 copies of the next-generation aircraft that, while about the same size as the Super Stallion, can carry heavier payloads yet is cheaper to operate and maintain.
Among the CH-53K's high-tech features: a redesigned glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; upgraded engines and rotor blades; and improvements to survivability in combat, Sikorsky said.