Special K: Six Things to Know about the World’s Only True Heavy Lift Helicopter


A legacy is not built overnight. It’s forged from the operational success of legends who flew the path before us. The CH-53K — the only true heavy lift helicopter in production — builds on Sikorsky’s 50-year legacy of heavy lift solutions and is ready to serve militaries around the world.

Imagine delivering critically needed combat support to remote regions. Flying at extended ranges with a full cabin of troops, and supplies and munitions in tow. Navigating degraded visual environments (DVEs) with pinpoint accuracy. Serving as the anchor point for diverse, multinational missions like humanitarian aid, casualty evacuation, combat search and rescue and more.

There’s only one place that delivers such vast capability right at your fingertips – the cockpit of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion. That’s what makes the K so special.

Hear from our pilot and learn more about the K’s growing legacy:

1. True Heavy Lift Capability

The King Stallion is capable of lifting a whopping 36,000 pounds externally, and boasts a cabin 12 inches wider at the floor than its closest competitor. That means it carries more with fewer trips, fewer aircraft and increased mission flexibility.

2. Introducing the Smart Helicopter

We designed the CH-53K from the ground up to operate seamlessly in today’s digital world. Leveraging technology like our advanced fly-by-wire flight control systems helps ensure ease of operation, significantly reduce pilot workload and enhance effectiveness in the most demanding situations, including DVEs.

3. King Stallion – We Mean Horsepower

Under the hood, three General Electric turboshaft engines deliver 22,500 total horsepower for the CH-53K. The combined power of all Sikorsky production and development models – H-60 Black Hawk, S-92, S-76, Raider and Defiant – is equal to the power of one CH-53K. Let that sink in for a moment.

4. Big Data Meets the Heavy Lifter

The Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS) provides active monitoring and diagnostic capabilities that ensure a reliable, available combat aircraft. The CH-53K was designed with the maintainer in mind, easing maintenance duties and reducing the time required to make repairs. The result? Enhanced aircraft availability and reduction in operating costs.

5. Brownout Conditions Are No Match for the K

The CH-53K is a modern helicopter that integrates the latest rotor-wing technologies like fly-by-wire flight controls. The all-new aircraft is designed to operate in searing desert heat, arctic cold and everything in between. Fly-by-wire flight controls increase its safety, reliability and reduce pilot workload for all-weather operations — including DVEs — as tested at the U.S Army Yuma Proving Ground.

6. Strengthening International Partnerships

Investment in the CH-53K benefits not only the United States, but also its international allies. The K is ready to serve both domestically and abroad, enabling the Marines and militaries worldwide to move troops and equipment from ship to shore – higher, quicker and more effectively than ever before.