The US Marine Corps is set to receive another CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter as part of their artillery expansion. These will be supplied by Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary.

“This Connecticut-built CH-53K aircraft is a credit to our employees and their skills embracing digital tools and other advanced technologies to continue the Sikorsky legacy of building modern, safe, reliable rotorcraft. Our nationwide supply chain supports the active production line as we prepare to deliver two more CH-53K helicopters later this year,” Bill Falk, director Sikorsky CH-53K program, says. “We look forward to continuing our progress toward next year’s full rate production decision.”

The aircraft was built in Sikorsky’s digital factory and is said to be a powerhouse regarding tech integration and networks that include maintenance, design, and training instructions. As the only sea-based, long-range, heavy lift helicopter in production, the CH-53K, the US Marine Corps, can now expand its operations and introduce long-range missions to the department.

Sikorsky CH-53K Helicopter King Stallion
Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion, ILA 2018 (Source: Matti Blume/Wikimedia)

The CH-53K series is now a crucial part of the United States military and is used in various branches. This is why this heavy-hitter is now dubbed the “King Stallion.”

The “King Stallion” has a capacity of “27,000 pounds (30,000 at maximum capacity) versus its predecessor, which can only carry 9,628 pounds.” Though it has a similar aesthetic with its predecessor, the ground testing in a digital environment allowed Sikorsky to improve upon the previous design.

The initial program tests had its bumps. It had mechanical and operational issues, including rotor gearbox reliability, tail boom, and rotor structure problems. However, these have been addressed with the final version of the CH-53Ks.

Other improvements include new engines and cockpit layout. It also has doubled its lift capacity and radius of action (now better than the CH-53E). Because of its wider cargo hold, it can ideally carry a Humvee inside.

The engine is powered by the General Electric GE38-1B, mainly selected to improve its speed. Each of the three T408 engines is rated at 7,500 shp (5,600 KW). This gives the CH-53K the fly 20 knots (23mph) faster than the CH-53E.