A Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter completes a a 27,000 pound payload external lift test. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

Sikorsky on Friday was awarded a $1.1 billion contract for 12 heavylift CH-53K King Stallion helicopters, the Department of Defense announced on Friday, with $509 million for the current fiscal year and $617 million for the following year.

The contract to Sikorsky, owned by Lockheed Martin [LMT], covers Lots 2 and 3 low-rate production of the helicopter, which will replace the aging CH-53E Super Stallion, also produced by Sikorsky. The U.S. Navy plans to buy about 200 King Stallions.

As previously reported by sister publication Rotor & Wing International, development of the new heavylift helicopter was beset by delays, including broken components and deficiencies found during the flight test program. But those concerns and design flaws have since been fixed, according to the Navy.

“The Marine Corps is very appreciative of the efforts by the Navy and our industry partners to be able to award the LRIP 2/3 contract,” said Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy commandant for aviation, in a news release. “This is a win for the Marine Corps and will secure the heavy-lift capability we need to meet future operational requirements and support the National Defense Strategy. I’m very confident in the success of the CH-53K program and look forward to fielding this critical capability.”

Almost half of the work for this contract is to be completed in Stratford, Connecticut, with the remaining work spread out at facilities across the continental U.S., aside from 2.32 percent. Work is expected to be completed by 2023.