Lockheed Martin on June 23 announced the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion successfully completed an external lift of a 27,000 pound/12,247 kg payload at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The aircraft executed an «Out of Ground Effect» (OGE) external load test at 100 feet/30.5 m above the ground while performing hover maneuvers to demonstrate its excellent control authority in this flight regime. An OGE load is the most stressful of lift conditions for a helicopter from a power required standpoint. OGE is defined as an altitude greater than the helicopter’s main rotor diameter (79 feet/24 m in the King Stallion’s case) where power demand greatly increases due to loss of the benefit of ground effect.
«This 27,000 pound/12,247 kg external lift is yet another key milestone for the program», said Doctor Michael Torok, Sikorsky Vice President, CH-53K Programs. «The King Stallion achieved this external lift with ease, and we are on track to successfully complete the initial operational assessment this year».
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, is developing the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Sikorsky CH-53K has already achieved speeds exceeding 140 knots/161 mph/259 km/h, and a third Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter has joined the flight test program thereby accelerating the pace to full aircraft maturity and production. The first two aircraft have already verified the King Stallion’s capabilities well in excess of the predecessor Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion. A fourth King Stallion is currently in final preparation for flight status and on track to join the flight test program this summer.
«Lifting 27,000 pounds/12,247 kg in OGE conditions is another key milestone for the program, which further confirms our confidence in the design and performance of the aircraft», said Colonel Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps Program Manager for the Naval Air Systems Command’s Heavy Lift Helicopters Program. «This is the most strenuous condition we had to demonstrate from a performance standpoint prior to achieving Milestone ’C’ and entering production».
The King Stallion will carry a 27,000 pound/12,247 kg external load over 110 nautical miles/126.6 miles/203.7 km at 91.5°F/33°C at an altitude of 3,000 feet/914.4 m – a U.S. Navy operational requirement for «high hot» conditions. The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter will provide unmatched heavy lift capability with reduced logistics footprint and reduced support costs over its entire life cycle.
CH-53K pilots can execute heavy lift missions more effectively and safely in day/night and all weather with the King Stallion’s modern glass cockpit. Fly-by-wire flight controls reduce pilot workload for all heavy lift missions including external loads, maritime operations, and operation in degraded visual environments. With more than triple the payload capability of the predecessor CH-53E, the King Stallion’s increased capability can accommodate a range of payloads from an internally loaded High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) up to three independent external loads at once, providing wide mission flexibility and system efficiency. Additionally, a locking U.S. Air Force pallet compatible cargo rail system reduces both effort and time to load and unload palletized cargo.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion aircraft. The first four of the 200 are scheduled for delivery next year to the USMC. An additional four aircraft are under long lead procurement for parts and materials with delivery scheduled in 2019. USMC initial operating capability is scheduled for 2019. The U.S. Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.
This press release contains forward looking statements concerning opportunities for development, production and sale of helicopters. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices, budget plans, availability of funding and in the type and number of aircraft required; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
|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/530 miles/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