Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, delivered twoSikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift cargo helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps in the final quarter of 2022. These CH-53K heavy lift helicopters join the seven already in operation at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The CH?53K’s heavy-lift capabilities exceed all other U.S. Department of Defense rotary wing platforms and is the only heavy-lift helicopter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond. Sikorsky is on track to deliver more multi-mission King Stallion™ helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in 2023. The U.S Navy declared Full Rate Production for the CH-53K program in December 2022; a decision that is expected to increase production to more than 20 helicopters annually in the coming years. The expanded production includes twelve (12) aircraft in various stages of production for the government of Israel.
For pilots, like Marine Corps Capt. Chris Vanderweerd, 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,We can take them airborne and cut the time drastically that they are in enemy engagement zone essentially” said Vanderweerd, who is with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461.
“Sikorsky’s employees are using advanced technologies to manufacture the CH-53K helicopter, which increases capabilities and survivability to the U.S. Marine Corps,” said Bill Falk, director Sikorsky CH-53K program. “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 procuring long-lead items and critical materials to support ramping CH-53K production to full rate production in its digital factory. The CH-53K is an intelligent aircraft developed to 21st century standards, bringing improved safety and survivability to the warfighter. The CH-53K helicopter will provide many decades of world-wide heavy lift and multi-mission service to the Marine Corps, the Joint Force and Allies. A full authority digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) is one of many impressive capabilities setting the CH-53K King Stallion™ heavy lift helicopter apart from any other heavy lift aircraft. “Full authority” means the FCS provides all the aircraft motion – not just supplementing the pilot for stability. A digital fly-by-wire FCS is an electronic flight control system teamed with a digital computer that replaces mechanical control systems in an aircraft. It makes the aircraft easier to handle 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. 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. The CH-53K is powered by the General Electric GE38-1B engine, which was selected over the Pratt and Whitney Canada PW150 and a variant of the Rolls-Royce AE 1107C-Liberty used on the V-22 Osprey. Each of the three T408 engines is rated at 7,500 shp (5,600 kW), and gives the CH-53K the ability to fly 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) faster than its CH-53E predecessor. It is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military.