Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift cargo helicopter
Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift cargo helicopter

US State Department Clears Israel to Buy 18 Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion Helicopters

The U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 18 examples of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter to the Government of Israel. The total estimated cost is $3.4 billion. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Global, Inc., Shelton, Connecticut; and General Electric Company, Lynn, Massachusetts. The U.S. is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.

The Government of Israel has requested to buy up to eighteen (18) CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters; up to sixty (60) T408-GE-400 Engines (54 installed, 6 spares); and up to thirty-six (36) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM). Also included is communication equipment; GAU-21 .50 caliber Machine Guns; Mission Planning System; facilities study, spare parts; test equipment; publications documentation; maintenance training; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services.

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Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion Heavy-lift Cargo Helicopter
Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion Heavy-lift Cargo Helicopter

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being produced by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The design features three 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants. It will be the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military. The USMC plans to receive 200 helicopters at a total cost of $25 billion. Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) testing started in April 2014; flight testing began with the maiden flight on 27 October 2015. In May 2018, the first CH-53K was delivered to the Marine Corps.

The CH-53K is a general redesign with new engines and cockpit layout. The CH-53K will use General Electric T408 (GE38-1B) engines rated at 7,500 shp (5,600 kW) each and able to fly 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) faster than its CH-53E predecessor. It will feature a new digital glass cockpit with fly-by-wire controls and haptic feedback, HUMS, a new elastomeric hub system, and composite rotor blades to improve “hot and high” performance. The gearbox assembly including rotor hub weighs around 11,650 lb (5,280 kg).The split torque gearbox weighs 5,270 lb (2,390 kg). For comparison, the twin-engine Mil Mi-26’s split torque gearbox weighs 8,020 lb (3,639 kg).

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