By S.L. Fuller | March 7, 2018
Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion has completed an external lift of a 36,000-pound payload, achieving a maximum weight on the single center point cargo hook. The manufacturer said this occurred at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center and marks completion of critical flight envelope expansion activities for the aircraft.
“The successful completion of these last critical envelope expansion tests further demonstrates the maturity of the CH-53K aircraft,” said Michael Torok, Sikorsky VP of Marine Corps systems. “We look forward to bringing this unique and exceptional heavy lift capability to the U.S. Marine Corps and our international customers.”
The first aircraft is set to be delivered to the service this year.
As shown in the video (courtesy of Sikorsky) above, the King Stallion was able to lift the external load of 36,000 pounds into a hover. Flight demonstrating satisfactory handling qualities and structural margins. The gross weight of the aircraft reached little more than 91,000 pounds. Sikorsky said that makes this the heaviest helicopter it has ever flown.
In January, the CH-53K used a single-point hook to carry a 18,870-pound vehicle as it hovered at altitudes of up to 1,000 feet for some 10 minutes. This was a first for both the aircraft program and the joint light tactical vehicle program.
Sikorsky is also hoping to ramp up international interest for the aircraft. The company officially announced in February it would bid the CH-53K in Germany’s heavy-lift competition with a teaming agreement with Rheinmetall. The King Stallion is also set to make its international debut at the Berlin Air Show next month.