The US Navy has selected Korean Air as the sole provider of depot-level maintenance services for its CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters.
Under this KRW50bn ($45.28m) contract, Korean Air will carry out depot-level maintenance services for 40 CH-53 helicopters based in Japan from June this year until 2020.
The aircraft maintenance will cover a series of processes, including the testing of various systems, which will be examined using advanced techniques, such as non-destructive tests.
Built by Sikorsky Aircraft, the CH-53 helicopter, also known as Stallion, is designed for long distance transportation of troops and heavy military equipment, mine detection, and clearance.
Previously, Korean Air carried out depot-level maintenance services for CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters from 1989 to 2010.
Commissioned into service with the US Marine Corps (USMC) in 1981, these aircraft provide a key capability that facilitates its Sea Basing strategy.
To date, a total of 172 Super Stallions have been delivered, with 165 currently in service with USMC squadrons in the Pacific Fleet, and in the Atlantic Fleet.
In addition, these helicopters are in service with the USMC reserve, training and experimental squadrons. The final Super Stallion for the USMC was delivered in November 2003.
In 2014, the USMC rolled out the all new next-generation CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter with plans to acquire 200 CH-53K helicopters.
The new helicopter will feature improved payload, range, and hot-high capabilities. It is expected to deliver reliable, cost-effective, low-maintenance, and survivable solutions in all conditions.
Image: CH-53Es from HMM-264 prepare to take off from USS Bataan (LHD-5). Photo: courtesy of United States Department of Defense Photo: public domain.