CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – The first CH-53K King Stallion was
delivered to Marine Corps Air Station New River Wednesday.
It marked another milestone for the U.S. Marine Corps’ future heavy-lift
The helicopter’s arrival to New River enters it into the Supportability Test
Plan where U.S. Marines will conduct a logistical assessment on the
maintenance, sustainment and overall aviation logistics support of the King
“I am very proud of the work accomplished to deliver the most powerful
helicopter ever designed into the hands of our Marines,” Lt. Gen. Steven
Rudder, Deputy Commandant for Aviation, said. “And confident in the teamwork
and dedication in this program which will carry us to IOC.”
The first aircraft, System Demonstration Test Article (SDTA) 3, will not fly
for the government as a regular asset until summer 2019, but it is the first
aircraft delivered to the Marines. The CH-53K is on track for Initial
Operational Capability (IOC).
Milestone C of the program was achieved last spring when the Office of the
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD
(AT&L)) approved the Navy’s request for the CH-53K King Stallion program to
enter into the Production and Deployment phase.
Following Milestone C, the CH-53K test program completed the following
milestones: maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000
pounds (16,329 kilograms); forward flight speed of 200 knots; 60 degrees
angle of bank turns; 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load
auto-jettison; gunfire testing; and participation in the Berlin
International Air and Trade Show.
The CH-53K King Stallion program – formerly known as the CH-53K Heavy Lift
Replacement Helicopter program – is a new production aircraft for the U.S.
Marine Corps Heavy Lift mission to replace the CH-53E, and it provides
significant improvements in range and payload capabilities.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K
aircraft. The first eight of the 200 “Program of Record” aircraft are under
contract with some of those scheduled for delivery to the USMC this year.
The Marine Corps will transition to eight active duty squadrons, one
training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational