The US Marine Corps (USMC) has received the delivery of the first of an expected fleet of 200 CH-53 King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters from Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky.
The CH-53 King Stallion aircraft have been designed to replace the USMC’s existing and aging CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter fleet.
USMC is expected to base the first CH-53 King Stallion helicopter at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The helicopter is set to enter the Supportability Test Plan upon arrival in Jacksonville, which will see the marines carry out a logistics evaluation of the aircraft’s maintenance, sustainment and complete aviation logistics support.
The Supportability Test Plan is expected to help ensure the aircraft’s readiness and support on the flight line once it enters service with the USMC.
Sikorsky president Dan Schultz said: “Our first delivery of a CH-53K to the Marine Corps marks the start of a new generation of true heavy-lift helicopter deliveries by Sikorsky that bring unsurpassed and expanded capability across the modern battlefield to provide tremendous mission flexibility and efficiency in delivering combat power, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief for those in need.
“With 18 additional aircraft in various stages of production already, the entire Sikorsky team, in partnership with our suppliers, is looking forward to additional deliveries to delight our customer.”
The rugged CH-53K is an advanced helicopter with a forward flight speed of more than 200k.
It features a modern intelligent design in order to ensure optimum reliability, low maintenance, high availability and improved survivability in the most challenging and remote forward operating bases.
The remaining CH-53 King Stallion helicopters are to be manufactured at Sikorsky’s production facility in Stratford, Connecticut, US, from the third quarter of this year.
Sikorsky is currently anticipated to deliver its second CH-53K aircraft to the USMC early next year.