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The First CH-53K Handed Over to US Marines

Sikorsky delivered the first CH-53 King Stallion helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) on 16 May. The aircraft is the first of an expected 200 helicopters for the Marine Corps' fleet, the company said.

The CH-53K will replace USMC's aging CH-53E Super Stallion fleet which entered service with the USMC in 1981. Sikorsky said that 18 additional aircraft are already in various stages of production. This first CH53K heavy lift helicopter will be stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina where the helicopter will enter into the Supportability Test Plan including logistics assessment on the maintenance, sustainment and overall aviation logistics support of the King Stallion.

The CH-53K test program recently completed the following milestones: maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms); forward flight speed of over 200 knots; 60 degrees angle of bank turns; altitude of 18,500 feet mean sea level (MSL); 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; and gunfire testing.

Sikorsky expects to deliver its second CH-53K helicopter to the USMC in early 2019. 

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