The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is the latest addition to the US military’s heavy-lift helicopter fleet. It entered service just last year and aims to replace the famous CH-53E Super Stallion. Weighing in at 33,000 lbs but designed to lift nearly 14 tons, the King Stallion is a huge improvement from its predecessors. With that said, here are five things you should know about the King Stallion:
1. Supplemented with a simulator
Operating such a massive helicopter needs a lot of training. In turn, Lockheed Martin decided to make and deliver the first CH-53K simulator to the US Navy in 2020. The Containerized Flight Training Device allows flight crews to train under the scope of Marine Corps heavy lift missions by replicating the Stallion’s functionality, flight characteristics, mission profiles, and capabilities.
2. More cargo, fewer trips
It’s considered the biggest for a reason. The CH-53K’s wider cabin is ideal for transporting cargo and troops as it can carry 463L pallets and High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. In addition, the vast space also offers a considerable amount of flexibility when it comes to configuring the cabin to maximize mission effectiveness. Compared to its predecessor, the King Stallion’s cabin is a foot wider and 15% larger, enabling it to carry 30 troops or 24 casualty litters.
3. Designed to be easily maintained
The inclusion of the Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring System (IVHMS) is a game-changer for maintenance crews. The system was based on direct input from CH-53 technicians, crew chiefs, and flight engineers, helping designers to optimize the K variant for easy field maintenance operations. Using the system, maintainers are given information on the specific issue and its location on the CH-53K.
4. Three independent cargo hooks
King Stallions are equipped with three separate hooks. The center hook can support up to 36,000 lbs of cargo, while the remaining two hooks can carry 25,200 lbs each. With a 36,000-lb payload capacity, the King Stallion remains the most powerful helicopter in the world.
5. It can be transported using one of the largest military aircraft in the world
As expected, a helicopter as massive as the King Stallion needs ample room for transport. As such, the CH-53K is Strategic Lift Certified for both the C-17 Globemaster III and the C-5 Galaxy. You can find one getting loaded into a C-5 by clicking this link.