The United States Marines will gain additional training opportunities preparing them to operate the Sikorsky CH-53K heavy lift helicopter. The aircraft is the most modern and powerful helicopter in Department of Defense inventory capable of moving troops and equipment from ship to shore, and to higher altitude terrain, more quickly and effectively than ever before. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) will provide an additional Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD) to the U.S. Navy with options for three more under the terms of a recent contract award. This follows up on the success of the first training device delivered in 2020 to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Flight crews will train on the full scope of Marine Corps heavy lift missions, including external lift operations, using the full-mission flight simulator that also replicates the various environmental conditions in which the aircraft is likely to fly. The training devices include a full cockpit for the aircraft operated by a pilot and co-pilot, an instructor operating station as well as a brief/debrief room. The newest training devices will include upgrades that improve system performance, increase cost savings, and more closely align to the CH-53K aircraft for increased training realism. Through this new effort, Lockheed Martin is helping the Marine Corps expand proven and critical CH-53K Flight Training with training capability to more Marines.
The Marine Corps achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the CH-53K in April following a successful test period that resulted in over 3,000 mishap free hours flown in challenging environments and terrain. The CH-53K CFTD provided the capability to train mission scenarios which were then completed during Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E). They include:
Day and night air-to-air refueling
Air-to-air refueling with 27,000 lb. external load
Sea trials with over 350 landings
Operation in Degraded Visual Environments
The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion (Sikorsky S-95) is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter designed and produced by Sikorsky Aircraft. The King Stallion is an evolution of the long running CH-53 series of helicopters which have been in continuous service since 1966, and features three uprated 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than its predecessors. It is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military. The United States Marine Corps plans to receive 200 helicopters at a total cost of $25 billion. The CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy lift helicopter, being a general redesign of the preceding CH-53E, the main improvements being the new engines and cockpit layout. It has over twice the lift capacity and radius of action of the CH-53E, and a wider cargo hold to allow it to carry a Humvee internally.