The Pentagon believes that the Marine Corps' new CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter — which at, $144 million apiece, costs more than the notoriously expensive F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter, is "the most powerful helicopter the United States has ever fielded."
Unfortunately, the pricey helo may not see action downrange anytime soon due to a growing list of worrying technical problems.
The Marine Corps has asked Congress for $3.2 billion to buy warplanes and other equipment that did not make President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 defense budget plan, according to a copy of the request obtained by CQ Roll Call.
When the Department of Defense approved Lockheed Martin’s CH-53K King Stallion for Marine Corps use, a leaked decision memo revealed the brand-new heavy-lift helicopters would cost $138.5 million apiece — which, at millions more than the infamously pricey F-35A Lighting II joint strike fighter, makes the King Stallion the most expensive aircraft in the Pentagon’s arsenal.
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II is, without a doubt, the most expensive fighter craft in military history. Early production F-35A fighters clocked in at a whopping $130 million as of 2016, according to Popular Mechanics, and the Marine Corps’ order for the F-35B vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) variant will likely end up somewhere around $122.8 million.
The Marine Corps drew criticism this week over the costs of a program for its new heavy-lift helicopter, the CH-53K King Stallion, amid reports that the rotary-wing platform will have a unit cost of $122 million per unit — 20% higher than previous projections.