CH-53K heavy lift helicopter flies first time in Europe
Late March, a USMC CH-53K heavy lift helicopter built by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, arrived in Holzdorf, Germany, ahead of its international debut at the ILA Berlin Air Show.
This is the first time a King STALLION helicopter has been loaded into a C-17 GLOBEMASTER and transported to the base of a European ally. “We are excited for the opportunity to showcase the capabilities of this all new CH-53K heavy lift helicopter to an international audience. This is the only true heavy lift helicopter in production,” said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz.
Sikorsky demonstrated the King STALLION’s strategic airlift capability during an exercise at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, FL/USA, prior to the departure for Germany.
A trained Sikorsky crew partially disassembled the CH-53K helicopter, loaded it into the C-17 cabin and then unloaded the helicopter while representatives from Naval Air Systems Command and the US Marine Corps observed the exercise. As a result, the CH-53K programme achieved its Air Transportability Test Loading Activity certification from the US Air Force.
The CH-53K King STALLION test programme recently completed the following milestones: maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000lbs (16,329kg); forward flight speed of 200kt; 60-degrees angle of bank turns; 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; and gunfire testing. These milestones come just weeks ahead of Sikorsky delivering the first CH-53K helicopter to the US Marines.
On 12 April, flew its first flight on foreign soil at Holzdorf Air Base, Germany. The aircraft executed a flawless flight around the air base, as the Sikorsky team continued preparation for the King STALLION’s public international debut at ILA.
The helicopter remained at Holzdorf Air Base, a military airfield operated by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), until the start of ILA. The CH-53K will showcase its capabilities, manoeuvrability and advanced fly-by-wire technology during demonstration flights at the air show.
The CH-53K aircraft is an all-new aircraft, using modern intelligent design. The rugged CH-53K is designed to ensure reliability, low maintenance, high availability and enhanced survivability in the most austere and remote forward operating bases.