Sikorsky Aircraft has pushed back the CH-53K‘s first flight to finish testing a redesign of the next-generation heavy-lifter’s main gearbox.
The King Stallion, a replacement for aging U.S. Marine Corps CH-53Es, was scheduled to fly in June. But Navy and Sikorsky officials said in April that a failure required a main gearbox redesign. While that is complete, additional testing is needed. The Navy expects a first flight by the end of the year.
That flight has been rescheduled several times as the program struggles to meet stringent requirements for an aircraft that can carry twice the payload of the -53E over the same range, but also match the shipboard footprint of its predecessor. The Marines plan to buy 200 -53Ks.