First CH-53K King Stallion Delivered to U.S. Marines
ARLINGTON, Va. — The first CH-53K King Stallion was delivered to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, North Carolina, May 16. This marks another on-time milestone for the U.S. Marine Corps’ future heavy-lift helicopter program.
The helicopter’s arrival to New River enters it into the supportability test plan where U.S. Marines will conduct a logistical assessment on the maintenance, sustainment and overall aviation logistics support of the King Stallion.
“I am very proud of the work accomplished to deliver the most powerful helicopter ever designed into the hands of our Marines,” Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy commandant for Aviation, said. “And confident in the teamwork and dedication in this program which will carry us to IOC [initial operational capability].”
The first aircraft, System Demonstration Test Article 3, will not fly for the government as a regular asset until summer 2019, but it is the first aircraft delivered to the Marines. The CH-53K is on track for IOC.
Milestone C of the program was achieved last spring when the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics approved the Navy’s request for the CH-53K King Stallion program to enter into the production and deployment phase.
Following Milestone C, the CH-53K test program completed the following milestones: maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds); forward flight speed of 200 knots; 60 degrees angle of bank turns; 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; gunfire testing; and participation in the Berlin International Air and Trade Show.
The CH-53K King Stallion program — formerly known as the CH-53K Heavy-Lift Replacement Helicopter program — is a new-production aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps’ heavy-lift mission to replace the CH-53E, and it provides significant improvements in range and payload capabilities.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s program of record remains at 200 CH-53K aircraft. The first eight aircraft are under contract with some of those scheduled for delivery to the service this year. The Marine Corps will transition to eight active-duty squadrons, one training squadron and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.