CH-53k King Stallion, Lockheed Martin Owned Sikorsky’s Impressive Heavy Lift Helicopter Delivered to USMC
The United States Marine Corp took possession of one of an anticipated 200 CH-53k King Stallion heavy lift helicopters last week. The 53K heavy-lift helicopter is said to have the capacity to lift three times as much as the previous version the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. The 53E, developed by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky, was initially put into service in 1981.
Sikorsky President Dan Schultz said of the CH-53k King Stallion helicopter delivery, “Our first delivery of a CH-53K to the Marine Corps marks the start of a new generation of true heavy lift helicopter deliveries by Sikorsky that bring unsurpassed and expanded capability across the modern battlefield to provide tremendous mission flexibility and efficiency in delivering combat power, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief for those in need.”
Schultz, a former CH-53 pilot himself, additionally said, “With 18 additional aircraft in various stages of production already, the entire Sikorsky team, in partnership with our suppliers, is looking forward to additional deliveries to delight our customer.”
Initial reports have indicated that this particular CH-53K heavy lift helicopter will be will first be put through a Supportability Test Plan at the Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The test plan will further indicate to officials the helicopter’s functionality, sustainment and will determine what type maintenance procedures will be necessary to provide sufficient upkeep on the helicopter. These type of assessments are used to determine the readiness in flight capability for when the CH-53k King Stallion helicopter actually enters into service for the USMC.
The CH-53k King Stallion heavy lift helicopters ultimately made their debut and demonstrated some of their impressive lift capabilities at an airshow in Berlin, Germany. The aircraft is expected to have heavy lift capabilities of up to 27,000 pounds and will assist in the transport of armored personnel carrier lifts.
Initially the CH-53k King Stallion helicopters had some US leaders in opposition to the development and purchase of the powerful helicopters by the USMC order of them, citing the expense of the helicopter’s development to taxpayers.
However, following the delivery last week, Deputy Commandant for Aviation, Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder was reported to have said, “I am very proud of the work accomplished to deliver the most powerful helicopter ever designed into the hands of our Marines.” He said that he is additionally hopeful that the test plan sees the helicopter potentially ready to enter into service with the USMC as early as next year.
Sikorsky expects to deliver its second CH-53k King Stallion to the USMC in early 2019.