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The Sikorsky CH-53K’s entry into low-rate production has been delayed again, this time by eight months to February 2017, because of gearbox failures last year and the late delivery of parts from suppliers, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports in its annual assessment of Pentagon weapon projects.
The King Stallion development effort achieved first flight last October – "nearly three years later than originally planned" and five years after completing its critical design review.
In January, the second test model began flying at Sikorsky's facility in West Palm Beach, Florida and the GAO report notes that it contains the improved gearbox that was first trialled on a ground test vehicle.