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(VIDEO) US Marines’ CH-53K King Stallion Helicopter Easily Lifts F-35

The CH-53K King Stallion multi-mission helicopter can lift up to 36,000 pounds of equipment, holds up to 30 troops, and features a computerized fly-by-wire system for semiautonomous piloting

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The CH-53K King Stallion, the Marine Corps’ newest heavy-lift helicopter, demonstrated its heavy-lift capability, lifting an F-35 Lightning II for the first time at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. 

A CH-53K King Stallion with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron one (VMX-1), has lifted an F-35BC airframe during Helicopter Support Team operations.

The Marine Corps said in a release that CLB-24 helicopter support team Marines conducted external lift operations of the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant to develop tactics, techniques, and procedures of the CH-53K King Stallions.

The CH-53K King Stallion multi-mission helicopter can lift up to 36,000 pounds of equipment, holds up to 30 troops, and features a computerized fly-by-wire system for semiautonomous piloting. It is designed to conduct expeditionary assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations, critical in the Indo-Pacific region.

The King Stallion is an all-new heavy-lift helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material more rapidly. That power comes from three new General Electric T-408 engines, which are more powerful and more fuel efficient than the T-64 engines currently outfitted on the CH-53E.

CH-53K

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion (Sikorsky S-95) is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter designed and produced by Sikorsky Aircraft. The King Stallion is an evolution of the long running CH-53 series of helicopters which have been in continuous service since 1966, and features three uprated 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than its predecessors. It is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military.

The United States Marine Corps plans to receive 200 helicopters at a total cost of $25 billion.

Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) testing started in April 2014; flight testing began with the maiden flight on 27 October 2015.

CH-53K

In May 2018, the first CH-53K was delivered to the Marine Corps. On 22 April 2022, it was declared to have passed initial operational capability.

Israel has also reportedly ordered the type; other potential export customers include Japan and Germany.

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