Sikorsky CH-53K concludes first external load flight test

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Sikorsky CH-53K concludes first external load flight test
USMC’s newest heavy transport helicopter, the Sikorsky CH-53K, has successfully completed the first external load flight test. The Sea Stallion lifted and then released a load of 12,000 lbs. The company has scheduled further tests to increase the platform’s flight envelope.
Sikorsky CH 53K concludes first external load flight test 640 001Sikorsky's CH-53K King Stallion performing first external load flight test
(Credit: US Naval Air Systems Command)
In the near future, Sikorsky will carry out flight tests with external payloads of 12,000 lbs, with the helicopter in hover and will gradually increase speed up to 120 knots and weights by 20,000 and 27,000 lbs.

The CH-53K Super Stallion has been designed with single, dual and triple external cargo hook capability, allowing the transfer of three separate external loads to three separate landing zones in one single sortie. The central hook can lift weights up to 36,000 lbs, while the other two can lift weights up to 25,200 lbs. Each hook can be electrically released from the cockpit and cabin. An auto-jettison system is incorporated to protect the aircraft in the even of a load attachment point failure.

USMC Col. Hank Vanderborght, H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters (PMA-261) programme manager at the Naval Air Systems Command said: "It is exciting to have achieved our first external lift, another important step towards fielding the most powerful U.S. military helicopter. Our program continues on pace to deploy this incredible heavy lift capability to the Marine Corps.”