U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallions take off from the flight line during a mass flight exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. (U.S. Marine Corps)
The CH-53E Super Stallion has logged more than one million flight hours since entering service with the Marine Corps in 1981, according to U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which referred to the helicopter as “still one of the most used aircraft in the United States military air arsenal.”
Missions involving the Super Stallion include amphibious assault, long-range insertion, and delivering troops, vehicles and supplies.
“The CH-53E has seen more work than was ever anticipated it would see,” said Maj. Matthew Baumann, NAVAIR Heavy Lift Helicopter program office co-lead.
The Super Stallion is no longer in production, but the fleet is undergoing a “reset” to extend their service life through 2032. Of the 142 CH-53Es in the fleet, the first 25 helicopters have completed their reset process, according to Baumann, “allowing the squadron commanders to plan for training, operations and maintenance with renewed confidence.”
Resetting the fleet will help smooth the transition to the new CH-53K King Stallion, the Super Stallion’s heavylift replacement.
“The CH-53K is the most powerful helicopter ever built by the United States military,” said Col. Jack Perrin, NAVAIR’s Heavy Lift Helicopter program manager.
The King Stallion is currently in the testing and capability requirements phase, with deployment scheduled for 2024.
“It’s a game-changer,” Perrin said. “We can’t wait to have the K available for fleet use. But for now, we’ve got a capable, reliable and safe helicopter doing heavy-lift for our Marines.”