|Pictured from left to right are Caroline Vandedrinck (Sikorsky VP Europe & Central Asia), Hans-Peter Mueller (NATO JCGVL Committee Chairman), Lt. Col. John Ennis (CH-53K Government Flight Test Director) and Mike Torok
(Sikorsky VP CH-53K Program). Photo courtesy of Sikorsky
NATO leaders received updates on the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K heavy-lift program during a recent visit to Sikorsky Aircraft’s Florida Assembly & Flight Operations Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Delegates from NATO’s Joint Capability Group Vertical Lift Committee toured the production line for the King Stallion as well as that for the H-60M Black Hawk. Sikorsky leads an industry team developing the CH-53K
The delegates also visited Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center, where full system testing of the heavy lift helicopter is underway.
The NATO group saw the CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle, a prototype tethered to the ground, and the CH-53K Engineering Development Model 1 (one of four flight test aircraft). The delegates then were briefed on the S-97 Raider initiative and viewed the first of two prototypes. Sikorsky developed the rigid-coaxial rotor S-97 to demonstrate the military application of its X2 Technology to armed reconnaissance and special operations missions. With rigid, counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and pusher-propeller “propulsor,” the S-97 is designed to cruise beyond 220 knots; the X2 demonstrator achieved that.
“The delegates recognize the value of spending time with the designers and engineers building this heavy lift helicopter,” said Hans-Peter Mueller, chairman of the NATO capability group.