" The Marine Corps ultimately plans to buy 200 CH-53Ks by 2029 to replace its fleet of aging CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, which have the most serious readiness problems of all aircraft in the Marine Corps' current fleet.

Earlier this month, Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., asserted that the price for each CH-53K had ballooned from $87.1 million to $122 million per helicopter, which is made by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.

“So that cost growth multiplied times 200, is a heck of a lot of money,” Tsongas said at a March 10 House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee hearing. “And even if there is no additional cost growth, it seems worth pointing out that $122 million per aircraft in 2006 dollars exceeds the current cost of an F-35, an aircraft for the Air Force, by a significant margin.”

The Marine Corps responded that the per-unit cost for the CH-53K has not increased, but that, with any aircraft, the first ones built are always more expensive than the rest due to non-recurring engineering and tooling costs needed to stand up the production line. "