8 Ways the Sikorsky CH-53K Proved it is King in 2018

Though the CH-53K builds off Sikorsky’s heavy-lift legacy, the CH-53K is a technologically advanced design, developed to meet the U.S. Marine Corps’ future warfighting requirements in the 21st century battlefield.

The all-new CH-53K has flown more than 1,200 test hours and is in the midst of a rigorous test program to ensure it is ready to serve both domestically and abroad, enabling the Marines and militaries worldwide to move troops and equipment at higher altitudes , quicker and more effectively than ever.

Take a look at the King Stallion’s 2018 accomplishments!

Brownout Conditions Are No Match for the K

The CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter began degraded visual environment (DVE) testing at the U.S Army Yuma Proving Ground. The designated landing area at the Yuma Proving Ground is regularly plowed to create the most extreme conditions for this kind of testing.

"It looks very similar to the old CH-53s, but this one is completely new," a test officer at Yuma Proving Ground said in a U.S. Army report. "There is such major improvement that it is basically a new aircraft."

"It's meant to be faster, stronger, lighter, and perform all the duties of the previous iteration with nearly triple the payload capability," he said.

That JLTV Lift

Three General Electric turboshaft engines deliver 22,500 total horsepower for the CH-53K. Capable of producing more than 7,500 shaft horsepower, the T408 engine combines breakthrough technologies, innovative cooling schemes and modern-day durability to deliver numerous mission-critical advantages in the world’s harshest operating environments. Watch the video to see the CH-53K lift a JLTV for the first time!

Demonstrating Fly-by-Wire in Germany

The heavy-lift helicopter's triple-redundant fly-by-wire flight controls reduces pilot workload and enables all-weather operations, including degraded visual environments (DVEs). The all-new aircraft is designed for demanding missions such as tactical air transport, medical transport, personnel recovery, combat search and rescue, special operations and military evacuation.

The heavy lift helicopter made its international debut and showcased its maneuverability and advanced fly-by-wire technology during demonstration flights at the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show in Berlin, Germany.

First Aircraft Delivered to the Marines

Marines with Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1 load the main gear box of the CH-53K King Stallion onto the aircraft on Marine Corps Air Station New River, Oct. 3. Maintainers have been reviewing and studying the K variant since its arrival in May to improve logistics and maintenance. Photo by: Cpl. Ethan Pumphret

Sikorsky delivered the first CH-53 King Stallion helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). The aircraft is the first of an expected 200 helicopters for the Marine Corps' fleet. Marines will conduct a logistics assessment on the maintenance, sustainment and overall aviation logistics support of the King Stallion.

Welcome to the Production Line!

There are now two CH-53K on the production line in Stratford, CT. With its external lift capabilities, and a wider cabin (30 cm/12 in), the CH-53K is the ideal choice for transporting more cargo or troops with fewer trips. The larger cabin, which is built by Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas, is able to carry 463L pallets and European Fenneck, which offers flexible configurations for maximum mission effectiveness, and facilitates loading/unloading of cargo without reconfiguring and removing troop seating.

Now Certified for Take Off in a C-5 and C-17

Sikorsky demonstrated the King Stallion's strategic airlift capability in 2018. A trained Sikorsky crew partially disassembled the CH-53K helicopter, loaded it into the C-17 cabin and then unloaded the helicopter while representatives from Naval Air Systems Command and the U.S. Marine Corps observed the exercise. As a result, the CH-53K program achieved its Air Transportability Test Loading Activity certification from the U.S. Air Force. The team completed the same exercise with a C-5.

Heavy Weight Champ: 36,000 lb Lift

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.

The CH-53K is designed to lift triple the baseline CH-53E lift capability with an equivalent logistics shipboard footprint, lower operating costs per aircraft, and less direct maintenance man hours per flight hour.

Flying at Great Heights

The K traveled to Colorado for initial high altitude testing. The CH-53K can carry a 12.200 kg/27,000 lb external load over 204 km /110 nautical miles in high/hot conditions (33°C/91.5°F at an altitude of 914m/3,000 feet). That’s more than triple the external load carrying capacity of the CH-53E aircraft!