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LONDON, July 13 The first flight of the U.S.
Marine Corp's new CH-53K heavy lift helicopter will likely be
delayed until the first half of next year, instead of occurring
by the end of this year as planned, the head of Sikorsky
Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, told
Reuters on Sunday.
Sikorsky Aircraft President Mick Maurer said the delay was
due to challenges in getting design changes to the transmission
system and gear box into production since those parts take a
long time to produce.
He said he did not expect the delay in the first flight to
affect the overall program.
"From a design standpoint, we're in great shape," Maurer
said in an interview on the eve of the Farnborough air show.
"It's just a question of getting it produced."
"First flight is a high visibility milestone, but in the
whole scheme of things it's not as important as actually getting
the testing done, and we're doing that."
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter)