CH-53K King Stallion Does Some Heavy Lifting in First Marines Fleet Exercise

CH-53K King Stallion during USMC exercise 11 photos
Photo: USMC/Cpl. Adam Henke
CH-53K King Stallion during USMC exerciseSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King StallionSikorsky CH-53K King Stallion
Back in 2015, the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps (USMC) embarked on a quest that would lead to an upgraded version of the CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift cargo helicopter. Called CH-53K King Stallion, the machine is being put together by Sikorsky with the goal of increasing the capabilities of the two military branches.
Despite work on the upgrade having started seven years ago, the King Stallion is still available in the sky in limited numbers. In fact, it was only last week when we learned of the aircraft taking part in its first fleet exercise with the Marine Corps.

The drills took place in Mountain Home, Idaho, and the helicopter was flown by Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (HMH-461). The location was chosen because “it provided a new climate and terrain features distinct from North Carolina, HMH-461’s home state.”

As per the USMC’s account, the exercise concluded successfully, after the unit lifted heavy loads, including a Light Armored Vehicle, without the helicopter experiencing any power issues.

“The benefits are endless,” said in a statement last week Staff Sgt. James Ganieany, airframes division chief for HMH-461. “We practice our external [lifts] with a Light Armored Vehicle, and we never have power issues. HMH-461 had its first operational flight for the CH-53K in April 2022, and have been training with it ever since."

In fact, it is the helicopter’s increased capability that is the focus of the upgrade. As per available info, the King Stallion can lift three times more weight than its predecessor (36,000 pounds/16,300 kg). The helicopter can carry inside up to 30 soldiers at a time or cargo arranged on pallets. External loads are attached to three external cargo hooks.

As said, not that many King Stallions are flying at the moment. But that will change in the near future, as the USMC has a 200-units strong order placed with Sikorsky.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various instances of the CH-53K King Stallion.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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