The Sikorsky-built CH-53K King Stallion has accomplished an “out of ground effect“ external load test to lift a 27,000 pound payload 100 feet above the ground while performing hover maneuvers.
“This is the most strenuous condition we had to demonstrate from a performance standpoint prior to achieving Milestone “™C“™ and entering production,” said Col. Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps program manager of Naval Air Systems Command’s Heavy Lift Helicopters program.
Michael Torok, Sikorsky vice president of CH-53K programs, added the program is on track to finish the initial operational assessment within the year.
Lockheed noted that a third CH-53K has joined the flight test program and a fourth unit is under final preparation for flight status and expected to join the flight test program by summer.
The company added the Defense Department‘s program of record indicates that the first tour out of 200 CH-53K aircraft are scheduled for delivery to USMC next year.