Armor & Mobility

MAR-APR 2018

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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STRENGTH THROUGH TEST The U.S. Marine Corp's next-generation CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter is proving up to the task in providing large load carry capability. By Liz Mildenstein, H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters (PMA-261) Communications Support Bystanders stand in anticipation as the muffled rumble of rotors can be heard in the distance. It's a slow cadence at first, followed quickly by a deep choppy roar as the blades cut the air nearby. It's the distinct sound of the world's most powerful helicopter, the CH-53K King Stallion. Today, the flight schedule includes a first-of-its-kind event: the CH-53K will hover, carrying the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) via a single hook. The JLTV family of vehicles is the Army and Marine Corps' replacement for the majority of today's High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). "From both a development and production standpoint, 2017 was a banner year for the CH-53K program," said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Hank Vanderborght, PMA-261 program manager. "We are working tirelessly to bring this superior and unrivaled capability to the warfighter." The Lot 2 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for the aircraft is expected later this year; full rate production is planned during 2020. Unparalleled Load Capacity The CH-53K has unmatched payload ability, its triple that of its predecessor, the CH-53E Super Stallion. Prior to lifting the JLTV, the CH-53K successfully hovered with an external payload of 27,000 pounds at 100 feet, demonstrating the aircraft's ability to lift and carry extreme weights under stressful lift conditions. It is designed to carry this high payload to a radius of 110 NM in severe and harsh weather conditions. At lower payloads and during less extreme ambient conditions, the range of the aircraft is much longer. The internal payload has been improved as well, one key upgrade being the CH-53K's compatibility with the U.S. Air Force's 463L Master Pallet (used to transport military cargo). The CH-53K can The CH-53K King Stallion flies a test flight in West Palm Beach, Fla. The CH-53K is intended to replace the CH-53E Super Stallion by 2030. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Molly Hampton) CH-53K NEXT-GEN VERTICAL HEAVY LIFT 22 | Armor & Mobility | March/April 2018

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