Sikorsky has delivered two CH-53K King Stallion helicopters to the US Marine Corps.
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The new pair of heavy-lift cargo helicopters join seven similar aircraft already in operation at Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina as of December last year.
The King Stallion functions as a land and sea-based logistics connector to transfer personnel and equipment from ship to shore. It is the only heavy-lift helicopter in production through 2032 for the US.
Sikorsky CH-53K program director Bill Falk said the CH‑53K’s heavy-lift capabilities exceed all other US Department of Defense rotary wing platforms.
“Sikorsky’s employees are using advanced technologies to manufacture the CH-53K helicopter, which increases capabilities and survivability to the US Marine Corps.
“With the CH-53K’s transformative technologies, more is possible for the Marine Corps and our allies when deterring threats in the changing battlefield landscape.”
Sikorsky is scheduled to deliver more multi-mission King Stallion helicopters to the US Marine Corps in 2023. The company is increasing production to more than 20 helicopters annually as it supplies an additional 12 aircraft in various stages of production for the Israeli government.
The aircraft has a full authority digital fly-by-wire flight control system, which replaces mechanical control systems in an aircraft and improves flight handling in unfavourable visual environments.
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 pilot, Captain Chris Vanderweerd said the system provides more predictable and stable control responses to improve safety and mission effectiveness.
“We will take up to 30 fully loaded Marines and (are) able to insert them into a zone in a timely and (safe) manner where they don’t have to risk going in via convoy,” CAPT Vanderweerd said.
“We can take them airborne and cut the time drastically that they are in enemy engagement zone essentially.”