Aircraft

Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion does some more heavy lifting

Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion ...
The Sikorsky CH-53 King Stallion lifts a 27,000-pound external load
The Sikorsky CH-53 King Stallion lifts a 27,000-pound external load
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The Sikorsky CH-53 King Stallion lifts a 27,000-pound external load
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The Sikorsky CH-53 King Stallion lifts a 27,000-pound external load

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter has flexed its muscles, lifting a 27,000-lb (12,245-kg) payload at Sikorsky's Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The demonstration flight, which saw the aircraft hover while carrying a little less than the weight of a double-decker bus, was part of the development and testing program for the transport helicopter slated to enter service with the United State Marine Corps by the end of the decade.

For the test flight, the King Stallion had to lift its payload to an altitude of 100 ft (30 m). This was to negate what is called the "out of ground effect" (OGE). When a helicopter is flying close to the ground, the downwash from the rotors forms a sort of air cushion under the aircraft that helps support it. To eliminate this, the CH-53K had to fly higher than its main rotor's diameter of 79 ft (24 m). According to Lockheed Martin, which bought Sikorsky last year, this produces the most stressful of power lift conditions for the vehicle.

The fly-by-wire CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter is being developed for the US Marine Corps and will be the heaviest helicopter in the US military inventory, capable of carrying a crew of five and up to 37 to 55 troops. In addition to hits heavy lift capability, it has enough internal space to carry a Humvee and has a new external cargo system. So far, its prototypes have reached speeds of over 140 kts (161 mph, 259 km/h) and have previously lifted loads of 20,000 lb (9,072 kg).

A third CH-53K King Stallion helicopter has been added to the program to speed up development and testing, and a fourth is scheduled to join it later this year. One of the prototypes will carry a 27,000-lb external load over 110 nautical miles (127 mi/204 km) at 91.5° F (33° C) at an altitude of 3,000 ft (914 m) to fulfill the US Navy operational requirement in "high hot" conditions.

Up to 200 of the Stallions are scheduled for delivery with the first to enter service with the Marines in 2019.

"This 27,000 pound external lift is yet another key milestone for the program," says Dr 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."

Source: Lockheed Martin

1 comment
P17
This Helicopter demonstrates what's wrong with the US Military and Military Procurement in the USA. This is a 21st Century aircraft with a performance that can't match a 20th Century Soviet design. If the Russians improve their equipment, the US military will still be miles behind. The aircraft which sets the benchmark for heavy lift helicopters is the Russian made, Soviet designed MIL Mi 26 (NATO Codename HALO). This 1970s design knocks the spots off what is the best the US can produce. Have a look at the stats: MIL Mi26 Entered service 1982 Crew 5 men Dimensions and weight Length 40 m Main rotor diameter 32 m Height 8.14 m Weight (empty) 28.2 t Weight (maximum take off) 56 t Engines and performance Engines 2 x ZMKB Progress D136 turboshafts Engine power 2 x 10 000 hp Maximum speed 295 km/h Service ceiling 4.6 km Range 1 952 km Payload Typical load 80 troops, or 60 stretchers, or 20 t of cargo The Mi26 has rescued the US Military on numerous occasions, despite tensions between the two countries. What is the cost of the Mi26? Between $10m -$12m each. Compare that to the operationally inferior US King Stallion which is being bought at a cost of $145m each. Where's the sense in designing equipment that can't match the best 20th century Soviet offering? The Lockheed F35 is another case in point where the latest and greatest US tech can't match last century's Soviet designed equipment. The American Public should be asking why their troops have future equipment that can't match 40-50 year old Soviet equipment. They need to ask why spend money on rubbish that puts US lives at risk and why it costs so much when there are people dying and starving on US streets.