The US Marine Corps’ (USMC) CH-53K King Stallion helicopter has successfully demonstrated its capability to lift and set down a joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV).
The exercise saw the helicopter hover up to 100ft and carry the 18,870lb vehicle for nearly ten minutes using a single point hook.
It was conducted by the CH-53K Integrated Test Team, which includes Sikorsky, NAVAIR and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21, the NAVAIR Internal Cargo Lab and PMA-261.
PMA-261 H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters programme office programme manager USMC colonel Hank Vanderborght said: “This was a first-of-its-kind event for both the CH-53K and JLTV programmes.
“Watching these two high-priority programmes come together on the flight line was an exceptional sight.”
Vanderborght added: “The payload capability of this helicopter is unmatched, triple that of its predecessor and better than any other heavy-lift helicopter in production.”
The vehicle used for the current demonstration was a four-seat JLTV model, known as the combat tactical vehicle.
The JLTV family of vehicles is intended to support the replacement of the US Army and the USMC’s high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV), while the CH-53K helicopter is designed to replace its predecessor, the CH-53E Super Stallion.
CH-53K King Stallion is noted to possess more than triple the payload capability of its predecessor, in addition to a 12in-wider internal cabin.
The aircraft’s payload capability can take the form of a wide range of payloads such as an internally loaded, high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicle, or the European Fennek armoured personnel carrier.