Military Review

The future of US ILC aviation. Heavy transport helicopter Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion

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Roll-out of the first CH-53K helicopter, 2014


The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion heavy transport helicopter is currently operating in the US Marine Corps and in a number of other countries. To replace it, a new CH-53K King Stallion machine was created. By now, the development company has managed to launch mass production and receive the first contracts. The delivery of finished machines to customers will begin this year.

Looking for a replacement


The CH-53E helicopters entered service in the early eighties. In the interests of the ILC and the Navy, approx. 180 of these machines. Most of this equipment still remains in service and solves the assigned tasks, but its operation is difficult due to resource depletion and general obsolescence.

At the beginning of the 53s, the USMC came up with a proposal to extend the resource and modernize the CH-53E cash. However, for a number of reasons, such plans were not implemented. In the middle of the decade, the Sikorsky company (now part of Lockheed Martin) offered the Corps a deeply modernized version of the helicopter with the working designation CH-XNUMXX. This project proposed the construction of new helicopters with a number of major changes in the design and equipment composition.


Experienced helicopters on trial, 2016

In the spring of 2006, the Pentagon awarded Sikorsky an order for the design and subsequent construction of helicopters. The new version received the official designation CH-53K, and later it was named King Stallion. In accordance with the contract, flight tests were to begin in 2011, and by the middle of the decade it was planned to start mass production. Until 2021, Sikorsky was supposed to build 156 helicopters with a total cost of $ 18,8 billion.

In 2007, the terms of the contract were revised. Now the ILC demanded to build 227 helicopters. However, during the same period, the development of the project ran into technical difficulties and was behind schedule. For example, it was possible to build an incompletely equipped helicopter for ground tests only by the end of 2012, and the first flights were postponed to 2015-16. In addition, the estimated cost of serial construction has changed, and the order has been reduced.

Ground tests of the first CH-53K began only in January 2014. The first flight took place on October 27, 2015. The next two and a half years were spent on versatile testing before being handed over to the customer. In parallel with this, three more experimental vehicles were built. In May 2018, the first King Stallion went to one of the ILC parts for additional testing and trial operation. At this stage, the project again faced technical problems, which resulted in the next postponements.

Modernization Methods


The delay in work, as well as the "outstanding" backlog of the original schedule and the increase in cost were mainly associated with the need for a serious revision of the original project and the implementation of a number of solutions and components. The upgrade to CH-53K affected all the key components of the helicopter, which affected the complexity of testing and fine-tuning, but made it possible to obtain an increase in the main characteristics.


The glider has undergone a noticeable revision. Its main part was expanded to increase the available volumes. So, the ILC demanded that an HMMWV car could be driven into a helicopter. The width of the cab was increased by 1 foot, resulting in a 15% increase in volume. New side sponsons of reduced width have been developed, due to which the growth of the fuselage diameter is compensated and the overall dimensions of the vehicle are reduced. Some of the metal parts of the airframe were replaced with lighter composite analogs.

The power plant has been radically redesigned. The helicopter receives three General Electric T408 turboshaft engines with a maximum power of 7500 hp. each. A new gearbox and an improved rotor hub have been developed to match the increased power of the engines. Introduced new composite rotor blades. The tail rotor and its drive have undergone some revision.

For the first time in the CH-53 family, the so-called. glass cockpit with display of all information on multifunctional displays. The old control wiring has been replaced with a flyback system. Due to automatic control and monitoring systems, the crew was reduced to 4 people.


The helicopter receives a modern self-diagnosis system borrowed from commercial technology projects. The system monitors the condition of components and assemblies, and also transmits data to the ground service complex. The latter includes elements of artificial intelligence capable of making predictions and issuing operational recommendations. All this simplifies and reduces the cost of operation.

As a result of this modernization, the overall dimensions of the helicopter remain the same, although the parking height increases from 8,46 to 8,66 m. The maximum take-off weight has increased to 39,9 tons versus 33,3 tons for the CH-53E.

Newly designed seats for 30 people are installed in the cab. Loading of 24 lying wounded is possible. Inside the fuselage, it is allowed to transport goods with a maximum mass of up to 15,9 tons. In particular, it is possible to load 463L type pallets and standard KMP pallets. It is possible to convert the helicopter into a tanker; for this, a tactical refueling system with three tanks of 3 cubic meters each is installed in the cargo compartment. The maximum load on the external sling is 16,3 tonnes on the center hook. Additional external suspension points allow loads up to 11,4 tons.

It differs from its predecessor CH-53K with increased flight characteristics. The maximum speed has been increased from 280 to 310 km / h. Combat radius with a rated load of 12,25 tons - 200 km. There is the possibility of refueling in flight to increase the range.


Pilot Training Simulator CH-53K

Supply contracts


Sikorsky received the first contract for the serial production and supply of CH-53K King Stallion helicopters back in 2006. Subsequently, its terms were revised several times, and now we are talking about the supply of 200 helicopters with a total value of 23,18 billion dollars. built for testing, transferred to the ILC and now provide training for pilots. Together with the helicopters, it is planned to supply training complexes. The first such product was handed over to the customer last year.

According to the current plans of the Pentagon, no later than September 2021, the ILC will receive the first serial production helicopter at a low rate. In the future, production growth is planned, and in 2023-24. the re-equipment of the first squadron will be completed. Production of the CH-53K will continue until the end of the twenties. Due to it, eight combat squadrons, one training and one reserve squadron, will be modernized. These units are now flying the obsolete CH-53E.

Since the late sixties, the Israeli Air Force has operated CH-53D Yasur helicopters and regularly carry out repairs and upgrades. In 2009, the Israeli military department showed interest in the CH-53K project and expressed its willingness to buy such equipment - after the completion of the development and launch of the series.

The future of US ILC aviation. Heavy transport helicopter Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion

Not so long ago, Israel studied the available offers and chose a new King Stallion for purchase. On February 25, it was announced that the decision to purchase such equipment had been made, and a real contract would appear in the near future. According to various sources, the Israeli Defense Ministry can buy 20-25 helicopters. This is enough to completely replace the existing Yasuras.

In early 2018, Germany announced its intention to replace the cash CH-53G with a new heavy helicopter. It was planned to purchase at least 40 vehicles with a total cost of approx. 4 billion euros. Over the next years, the Bundeswehr studied proposals from potential suppliers, including Sikorsky / Lockheed Martin.

In September 2020, the German command announced the termination of the current competition due to the excessive complexity and high cost. Now it is planned to revise the conditions and hold a new tender. It is not known whether the CH-53K helicopter will participate in it and whether it will be able to win.


Unlike its predecessors, the CH-53K is capable of transporting the main army vehicle.

At various times, there were reports of interest in the CH-53K from other foreign countries. However, for now, further News it didn’t work. Nothing is known about the negotiations, no supply contracts have been signed. Perhaps this situation will change in the future, and the Sikorsky / Lockheed-Martin company will build new helicopters not only for the United States and Israel.

The story continues


The observed processes show that the CH-53 family of helicopters, despite its considerable age, still retains the potential for modernization. The new King Stallion project offers the replacement of key units and allows you to get another increase in performance, as well as extend the service life.

The increase in performance, provided by the latest modernization, has an interesting consequence. In terms of carrying capacity, the CH-53K has bypassed all major competitors and is now the second in the world, second only to the Russian Mi-26. In addition, it turns out to be the heaviest and most cargo-lifting helicopter, suitable for basing on ships.

The USMC and the Israel Army have operated Sikorsky CH-53G / E helicopters for several decades. Now they are planning to re-equip the helicopter parts with modern CH-53K King Stallion machines. Newly built helicopters will be able to serve for several more decades - and thus will determine the appearance of the aircraft fleet of customer structures for a long time to come.
Author:
Photos used:
Sikorsky / Lockheed Martin
40 comments
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  1. Santa Fe
    Santa Fe 3 March 2021 18: 22
    +23
    Stallion "Stallion" - a heavy helicopter with unique flight characteristics, which showed a "dead loop"
  2. WHAT IS
    WHAT IS 3 March 2021 18: 25
    +21
    Well, what can I say, a normal, such a reliable car from "Sikorsky" turned out for the marines ..
  3. agoran
    agoran 3 March 2021 18: 32
    +4
    I wonder why 3 engines?
    Wouldn't it have been easier to install two engines?
    In the event of a drop in thrust on one of the engines, how is this compensated for in the gearbox?
    Complicated design leads to more failures.
    Who's in the subject, tell me, really interesting.
    1. Narak-zempo
      Narak-zempo 3 March 2021 19: 17
      -14%
      Quote: agoran
      I wonder why 3 engines?

      We could not create the required power to leave 2. I had to pull the owl onto the globe, fence the complicated gearbox. And thanks to the side exhaust, it now glows in the IR like a Christmas tree. The most important thing for MANPADS wink
      In general, he is somehow awkward. Compared to our Mi-38 - iron iron. And in terms of carrying capacity, the Mi-26 still cannot be compared.
      1. agoran
        agoran 3 March 2021 19: 30
        -3
        It is clear that for the military-industrial complex it is all the same, but what were the warriors thinking about when they received it?
        Preparation for a second flight increases for the technical staff, the likelihood of failures increases. The carrying capacity is also not very good.
        Mine do not understand: I throw a square brick into the lake, and the circles are round.
        1. Narak-zempo
          Narak-zempo 3 March 2021 21: 39
          -6
          Quote: agoran
          but what did the warriors think about when they received it?

          And the warriors do not think. They follow orders.
          And to interest financially the one who gives these orders is a matter of technology.
          Look, there was a whole department in Airbus in charge of corruption, why do you think there is no Sikorski?
      2. lucul
        lucul 3 March 2021 20: 16
        -7
        In general, he is somehow awkward.

        The Russian engineering heritage of Sikorsky - the appearance is not so important as the content, it is done conscientiously, in Russian. They updated it very well, we would have done so with the Mi-8.
        1. Wedmak
          Wedmak 3 March 2021 20: 58
          +2
          we would be like that with the Mi-8

          Is the Mi-8 not updated? Are there already a dozen modifications or more? I somehow didn’t think, but it’s pretty well. With all the electronic bells and whistles, new materials and technologies.
        2. Quadro
          Quadro 3 March 2021 21: 03
          +10
          Quote: lucul
          In general, he is somehow awkward.

          The Russian engineering heritage of Sikorsky - the appearance is not so important as the content, it is done conscientiously, in Russian. They updated it very well, we would have done so with the Mi-8.

          And how does the Russian have to do with the helicopter of the 80s and its modernization? That's right, no, there is nothing left of the Russian.
      3. Your stranger
        Your stranger 3 March 2021 22: 20
        -4
        American,
        It weighs 15 tons, carries 16 tons, 38,4 tons maximum takeoff weight.
        Russian weighs 28 tons, carries 20 tons, maximum takeoff 56 tons!
        Americans, are they stupid?
        1. Narak-zempo
          Narak-zempo 3 March 2021 22: 34
          +7
          Quote: Stranger
          American, weighs 15 tons, carries 16 tons, 38,4 tons maximum takeoff weight.
          Russian weighs 28 tons, carries 20 tons, maximum takeoff 56 tons

          The Mi-26 is larger, hence the greater empty weight.
          But these very dimensions allow him to take larger loads.
          Those. in real operation, when it is necessary to lift not pig-iron ingots during tests, but loads of various sizes and weight or personnel, the 26th wins.
          Not to mention the fact that new modern engines are now being sawn for him instead of xoxlyats, which will not slow down to affect the increase in characteristics.
          1. ProkletyiPirat
            ProkletyiPirat 4 March 2021 01: 13
            +4
            and at the same time, the mi26 loses to the CH-53 in the military-strategic plan, because the CH-53, unlike the mi26, can be transported by aircraft, which is useful for delivery to the theater, and for repair / replacement, and is especially useful for export ...
        2. Zaurbek
          Zaurbek 4 March 2021 09: 05
          +3
          They are not stupid ....... there are certain indicators for boarding a ship, a certain range, a certain safety (a helicopter for the Navy) and some kind of standardization of engines.
      4. Nikolay R-PM
        Nikolay R-PM 4 March 2021 05: 31
        +3
        in the west, the concept of a three-engine helicopter intended for operation from the deck was formed back in the 60s. Then they were faced with the fact that the maximum take-off weight should be increased, and they were afraid to increase the diameter of the main rotor more than 19 m (and the deck dimensions were restrained), i.e. followed the path of increasing the carrying capacity of the helicopter by increasing the load on the NV. The third engine was introduced to guarantee the continuation of the flight in case of failure of one of them, there were always 2 left, since, apparently, flight on one engine with take-off masses close to normal and maximum was possible only with a decrease. For comparison, as part of the super frelon power plant (13000 kg, hereinafter the maximum take-off weight in brackets) three 1600 hp engines at takeoff at 18,9 m diameter HB, the mi-8t (12000 kg) has two 1500 hp engines at 21,3 m diameter nv. By the way, the later aw101 (15600 kg) did not receive more than 19 m.
        Remarkably came out with ch-53 (19000 kg). Its first modifications were two-screw 4000hp at takeoff, and the propeller diameter was 22 m. Sikorsky was developing the NV for the super frelon. Later, with the need to switch to a higher carrying capacity, the stallion became a three-engine stallion. Now AVIC, as a developer who grew up on French technology, develops and releases the z8 / ac313 based on Frelon. By the way, the Israelis also "professed" the concept of three-rotor helicopters, and before the widespread use of stallions they drove frelons.
        In general, three-engine power plants appeared as a result of the influence of various factors, namely, a forced increase in the load on the NV, and, consequently, an increase in the required power, and the absence of engines existing at that time with the required available power. And then the concept was established and healed
      5. vadim dok
        vadim dok 4 March 2021 15: 39
        -1
        The power of one MI-6 engine is 4100, and each engine of the King Stallion has -7500 hp "The Americans could not do that!"
    2. Intruder
      Intruder 3 March 2021 20: 14
      0
      Wouldn't it have been easier to install two engines?
      would you not know !? wink "Well, stupid ...", as one Russian comedian liked to say ... laughing It can be seen not easier and necessary ...
      1. agoran
        agoran 3 March 2021 20: 16
        +1
        Well, yes, 25 "calendars" in the Air Force.
  4. antivirus
    antivirus 3 March 2021 18: 35
    +2
    Will he take the cats from Sapporo to Khabarovsk? is the headquarters of the Far Eastern Military District protected?
  5. Vadim Ananyin
    Vadim Ananyin 3 March 2021 18: 44
    +14
    People are working, they are modernizing what is possible if there is a groundwork, they are doing new things.
    They try not to waste the previous experience.
  6. Genry
    Genry 3 March 2021 19: 00
    +5
    I liked the caption to the last photo: "Unlike its predecessors, the CH-53K is capable of transporting the main army vehicle."
    It's time to write: like its predecessors, the CH-53K is not capable of transporting Oshkosh L-ATV vehicles whose height has grown from 1,8 m to 2,5 m, which requires another helicopter upgrade.
    1. agoran
      agoran 3 March 2021 19: 09
      +6
      Well, the last photo still has some interesting things.
      The winch was stolen from the "muzzle". There is a print, but no winch.
      I am plagued by vague doubts.
      1. beeper
        beeper 3 March 2021 19: 50
        0
        Quote: agoran
        Well, the last photo still has some interesting things.
        The winch was stolen from the "muzzle". There is a print, but no winch.
        I am plagued by vague doubts.

        hi And you have a diamond eye! good yes
        Now I have "vague doubts" about the actual capacity of the King's cargo compartment! winked
    2. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 3 March 2021 19: 44
      +6
      Quote: Genry
      CH-53K is not capable of transporting Oshkosh L-ATV vehicles, the height of which has grown from 1,8m to 2,5m, which requires another helicopter upgrade

      To be fair, L-ATV MRAP, it is clear that its only on the external suspension. There is also an M-ATV.
      Inside a Humvee or a specially made SUV. The Army is already in its final tests.
    3. Intruder
      Intruder 3 March 2021 20: 21
      +2
      It's time to write: like its predecessors, the CH-53K is not capable of transporting Oshkosh L-ATV vehicles, the height of which has grown from 1,8m to 2,5m, which requires another helicopter upgrade.
      Well, for this, the external suspension on the main hook is intended, so and so ... wink
      1. agoran
        agoran 3 March 2021 20: 27
        0
        It’s lazy to search, from external hooks, it seems like at the exercises with the Norgs, the khami fell without parachutes, but stupid.
        1. Intruder
          Intruder 3 March 2021 20: 44
          +1
          Well .., flying accidents happen to everyone, this is the sky !!! Doesn't like fools and cowards - it is .. "A mouthful of earth .." repeat
          1. agoran
            agoran 3 March 2021 20: 49
            +3
            Controversial statement.
            Fools drop out in the first year.
            Cowards, I don’t know, I haven’t seen such cowards in the Air Force.
            1. Intruder
              Intruder 4 March 2021 00: 00
              0
              Fools drop out in the first year.
              that's why they are eliminated on the first, because he does not like!
              Cowards, I don’t know, I haven’t seen such cowards in the Air Force.
              then you are lucky, but not everyone is lucky and not always, to our deep regret ...
    4. onstar9
      onstar9 4 March 2021 06: 06
      +1
      Quote: Genry
      I liked the caption to the last photo: "Unlike its predecessors, the CH-53K is capable of transporting the main army vehicle."
      It's time to write: like its predecessors, the CH-53K is not capable of transporting Oshkosh L-ATV vehicles, the height of which has grown from 1,8m to 2,5m, which requires another helicopter upgrade.

      Well, Oshkosh L-ATVs are just starting to ship, and the US Army has 300 old armored vehicles that need to be replaced with this new one. How long will it take until they are replaced, count. Therefore, it will take a very long time to transport old cars ... Here is a helicopter designed for them ...
  7. Niko
    Niko 3 March 2021 21: 27
    +3
    People have brains, money too, everyone works. It turns out well
  8. tralflot1832
    tralflot1832 3 March 2021 22: 14
    -7
    MiG 21 drove one C 53 into Vietnam by hitting it with missiles. The penguin is crying nervously at the cost of this rotorcraft. $ 18,8 billion for 156 boards $ 120 million overboard. If we consider a contract for 200 boards, then $ 110 million overboard. Mi 26 25 - $ 30 million overboard. The Royal Stallion what is made of gold?
    1. tralflot1832
      tralflot1832 3 March 2021 22: 38
      0
      I apologize, if we take the empty weight, 15 tons. Then for 15 tons of gold you can build 8 stallions today. So it is not gold, but only gilded.
    2. Keyser soze
      Keyser soze 4 March 2021 00: 04
      +1
      .And our Mi 26 25 - $ 30 million overboard. Royal Stallion what is made of gold?


      Only an engineer or mechanic in Sikorski has a salary 20 times higher. They have to pay for a house, two or three cars, a college and a university for children, and save up for antiques. So they need more salaries. laughing

      And now, they will retire, they will buy a house in Hawaii and they will walk their grandchildren on the beach. Something like this.

      As already said - the cheap mother of misery .. bully
      1. tralflot1832
        tralflot1832 4 March 2021 00: 38
        -1
        Our life is cheaper in Russia, for $ 100 you can easily build a house in the Krasnodar Territory, if not by the sea, then with vertical takeoff and landing. in Hawaii. I have to pay a loan for an education. Then a house. And by the age of 000, there is freedom of loans. You can not live. He devoted his whole life to the sea, up to 50 years. So everything is fine with me. But if I would learn to be a navigator and grow up to captain, would have solved all the issues at the age of 50. In the 40s, some caps managed to earn in six months, more than the commander of an American aircraft carrier in a year. Moreover, using the privilege, if you went to sea for more than 90 days, you do not pay a cent in taxes. . Also used this. Everywhere it is good where we have not been.
    3. Vladimir Kiev
      Vladimir Kiev 4 March 2021 00: 59
      0
      So this question arose for me ...
      This is not a new thing - even a deep modernization, but not from zero !! And the price tag is -0 million per unit !! Attention - this is just a transport helicopter! Good - for military needs. But it costs 120 times more than the Su-3 ... Above my understanding! Can someone explain from the knowledgeable ???
  9. Jacket in stock
    Jacket in stock 4 March 2021 05: 50
    +2
    I don’t understand why we are talking about modernization, if absolutely all systems are new?
    Only the name is old, and then only partially.
  10. onstar9
    onstar9 4 March 2021 06: 17
    0
    Quote: tralflot1832
    MiG 21 drove one C 53 into Vietnam by hitting it with missiles. The penguin is crying nervously at the cost of this rotorcraft. $ 18,8 billion for 156 boards $ 120 million overboard. If we consider a contract for 200 boards, then $ 110 million overboard. Mi 26 25 - $ 30 million overboard. The Royal Stallion what is made of gold?

    Well, "Migi and Su" in Russia is assembled at the "Aunt Dusi" factories for 9000 rubles / month. Therefore, Russian equipment will certainly be cheaper. It is not the high cost of American technology that is visible here, but the tragedy of the Russian people who are forced to maintain the "defense of the country" with their beggarly life ... The high cost of Western technology reflects the high standard of living of those working there. And to Russian hard workers - a penny wage and "pride in the country" ...
  11. Tuzik
    Tuzik 4 March 2021 09: 25
    +3
    Combat radius with a rated load of 12,25 tons - 200 km

    most likely miles, 200 km is very small, mi 26 has a radius of 400 km
  12. Shiden
    Shiden 4 March 2021 13: 44
    -1
    In general, the performance characteristics of the helicopter were issued as a universal combat vehicle. It could work as a transport, anti-submarine and air minesweeper. But the Mi8 and Mi26 cannot pull a trawl even with the last fool in the engine.
  13. Basarev
    Basarev April 21 2021 14: 46
    0
    Will have to upgrade again. So that Oshkosh would now fit in.