Image courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, delivered the first CH-53 King Stallion helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). The aircraft is the first of an expected 200 helicopters for the Marine Corps' fleet.
The CH-53K is the new build replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps' aging CH-53E Super Stallion fleet. The CH-53E first flew in 1974 and entered service with the USMC in 1981.
Dan Schultz, Sikorsky president and former CH-53 pilot, said, "With 18 additional aircraft in various stages of production already, the entire Sikorsky team, in partnership with our suppliers, is looking forward to additional deliveries."
This first CH53K heavy lift helicopter will be stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
There the helicopter enters the Supportability Test Plan. U.S. Marines will conduct a logistics assessment on the maintenance, sustainment, and overall aviation logistics support of the King Stallion. This assessment also will validate maintenance procedures with Marine Corps maintainers conducting hands-on care/upkeep of the aircraft. The Supportability Test Plan will ensure readiness and support on the flightline when CH-53K helicopters enter service with the USMC.
Sikorsky expects to deliver its second CH-53K helicopter to the USMC in early 2019.