Lockheed Martin to build more helicopter trainers for U.S. military

A defense giant that operates a large part of its operations out of Orlando has landed a contract with the U.S. miliary for helicopter training devices.

Lockheed Martin will build a “Containerized Flight Training Device” for the U.S. Navy with the option of three more in the future. The company employs about 8,000 in Central Florida across two main facilities.

The devices train soldiers to operate the Sikorsky CH-53K heavy lift helicopter. The company successfully delivered a similar training device in 2020 to Marine Corps Air Station in Jacksonville, N.C.

Lockheed Martin VP of Training and Simulation Solutions Flash Kinloch said the devices were ready for greater use.

“Marine pilots have smoothly transitioned from the training device to the actual CH-53K’s fly-by-wire cockpit and completed missions in the fleet environment – such as air-to-air refueling,” he said. “Training in this highly immersive virtual environment permits flight crews to train the full scope of tasks that can be performed on the aircraft in a safe, cost effective and realistic manner.”

The U.S. military has increasingly sought simulation-based trainers to keeps costs down while also providing photo-realistic lessons for its soldiers.

Orlando has one of the deepest ecosystems in simulation and training, as well.

The device will train flight crews on heavy lift missions and will replicate various environmental conditions crews can face. The devices include a full cockpit, an instructor area and a debriefing room.

The work will be partially done in Orlando through the company’s Sikorsky subsidiary and is part of a $32.6 million contract.