A second CH-53K King Stallion has entered the U.S. Marine Corps heavy-lift helicopter program, and the first aircraft has achieved flight envelope expansion to 120 kt, Sikorsky said in a company press release.
The CH-53K Engineering Development Models (EDM) achieved their first flights on Oct. 27, 2015, and Jan. 22, 2016. As the flight test program proceeds, these two flying CH-53K helicopters will be joined by two additional aircraft to complete flight qualification of the Marines' next-generation heavy-lift capability over an approximate three-year flight test program. These first two aircraft are the most heavily instrumented of the EDM and will focus on structural flight loads and envelope expansion. When the other two EDM aircraft join the flight line in 2016, they will focus on performance, propulsion and avionics flight qualification.
Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky is now developing the CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter for the Marines. The King Stallion maintains similar physical dimensions with a reduced footprint compared to its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion, but will more than triple the payload to 27,000 lb over 110 nautical mi under high-hot ambient conditions.
Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin