Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., recently hosted more than two dozen guests, including delegates from NATO’s Joint Capability Group Vertical Lift (JCGVL), for an up close look at the U.S. Marine Corps’ CH-53K heavy lift helicopter. The group toured Sikorsky’s Florida Assembly & Flight Operations Center where they were able to walk along the production lines for both the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter and Black Hawk H-60M aircraft.
The delegates also had the opportunity to visit Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center (DFC), site of full system testing of the heavy lift helicopter. The NATO group was able to see the CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle (GTV), a prototype tethered to the ground. The delegation was also able to view the CH-53K Engineering Development Model 1 (EDM 1), one of four flight test aircraft.
The visit wrapped up with delegates getting a chance to see the first of two prototypes of the S-97 Raider helicopter, developed by Sikorsky to demonstrate the military application of Sikorsky’s X2 Technology. A second Raider prototype will serve as a demonstrator aircraft, offering key customers an opportunity to experience the capabilities of X2 Technology first hand. The Raider helicopter is a rigid coaxial rotor prototype aircraft ideally suited for armed reconnaissance and a wide range of special operations missions. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller provide cruise speeds beyond 220 knots/253 mph/407 km/h, more than double the speed of conventional helicopters in this size class.
The visit to Sikorsky was part of the delegation’s semi-annual meeting taking place in West Palm Beach, Florida.
«We are delighted that our honored NATO guests can be here in West Palm Beach to experience, first-hand, our energy and enthusiasm for our CH-53K aircraft», said Mike Torok, Sikorsky’s CH-53K Program Vice President. «The CH-53K King Stallion is destined to fulfill a significant role in the international heavy lift arena for decades to come».
NATO Committee Chairman Hans-Peter Mueller said the visit provided an opportunity to see the CH-53K helicopter in full scale and appreciate its capabilities. «We thank Sikorsky for its hospitality. The delegates enjoyed the informative tour and recognize the value of spending time with the designers and engineers building this heavy lift helicopter», said Mueller.
Sikorsky leads an industry team developing the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps. The aircraft’s 88,000-pound/39,916 kg maximum gross weight is designed to triple the external load carrying capacity of the CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft to more than 27,000 pounds/12,247 kg over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles/204 km under «high hot» ambient conditions.
U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Hank Vanderborght, H-53 Program Manager at the Naval Air Systems Command, said the CH-53K helicopter program will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material and more rapidly using proven and mature technologies. «Our allies will benefit from the U.S. Marine Corps investment in this next generation heavy lift platform», said Col. Vanderborght. «The CH-53K represents not just the continuation of heavy lift capability but a transformation of what we can do to ensure the Marine Corps remains the most ready force».
Sikorsky continues to conduct tests on four flight test aircraft at its facilities in West Palm Beach and Stratford, Connecticut.
Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion
The CH-53K model will be the world’s premier heavy lift helicopter, leveraging the lessons learned over 50 years of manufacturing and operational success with Sikorsky CH-53A/D/E predecessors. Built to thrive in the modern battlefield, the extremely capable CH-53K aircraft will be intelligent, reliable, low maintenance and survivable across the full spectrum of operating conditions for which it was designed. Expeditionary in nature, the CH-53K aircraft will be fully shipboard compatible and capable of operating from austere and remote forward operating bases. The CH-53K helicopter is the Marine Corps’ critical land and sea based logistics connector.
|Number of Engines||3|
|T408 Engine||7,500 shp/5,595 kw|
|Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load)||74,000 lbs/33,566 kg|
|Maximum Gross Weight (External Load)||88,000 lbs/39,916 kg|
|Cruise Speed||141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h|
|Range||460 NM/852 km|
|AEO* Service Ceiling||14,380 feet/4,383 m|
|HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW)||13,630 feet/4,155 m|
|HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW)||10,080 feet/3,073 m|
|Cabin Length||30 feet/9.1 m|
|Cabin Width||9 feet/2.7 m|
|Cabin Height||6.5 feet/2.0 m|
|Cabin Area||264.47 feet2/24.57 m2|
|Cabin Volume||1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3|
* All Engines Operating
** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect
*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect
- New build hybrid composite airframe structure – provides lighter weight and lower vibration throughout aircraft life
- Improved hydraulics
- Large composite sponsons
- Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS)
- Advanced drive system
- Improved fuel system with refueling probe
- Enhanced ballistic protection
- Crashworthy retracting landing gear
- Single, dual and triple cargo hook with 3 times the lift capability of the CH-53E to 110 NM/204 km (in hot/high conditions)
- Advanced light weight armor to protect passengers and crew
- Crashworthy troop seats
- Integrated Mobile Aircrew Restraint System (IMARS)
- Integral cargo handling system with rated capacity for two 463L pallets
- Self-defense weapons
Avionics and Flight Controls
- Rockwell Collins Avionics Management System
- Fly-by-wire flight controls
- Pilot/co-pilot/crew chief/4th crew
- FLIR with helmet-mounted navigational displays
- Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE)
Powerplant and fuel system
- Three T408-GE-400 engines with less fuel consumption, more power and fewer parts than its predecessor, the T64
- Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with pneumatic start
- Integral EAPPS – Engine Air Particle Protection System
Rotor and drive system
- 4th Generation Composite main rotor blades with advanced airfoils
- New tail rotor head and blades
- Elastomeric main rotor head
- Automatic blade fold
- Advanced drive system with a split torque design main gearbox
- Improved electrical systems