The most powerful helicopter ever fielded by the U.S. has passed a new aerial refueling wake test, according to the U.S Marine Corps.
A CH-53K King Stallion successfully plugged into a funnel-shaped drogue towed behind a KC-130J during aerial refueling wake testing, April 6, 2020, over the Chesapeake Bay, a service news release states.
The all-new heavy-lift helicopter, which has been in development since 2006, will replace the Marine Corps’ nearly 40-year-old CH-53E Super Stallion fleet.
The CH-53K King Stallion is the premier heavy-lift helicopter ever built by the United States government. It is an all-new heavy-lift helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material more rapidly. That power comes from three new General Electric T-408 engines, which are more powerful and more fuel efficient than the T-64 engines currently outfitted on the CH-53E.
The new heavy-lift chopper can carry triple the weight of its predecessor at a colossal 27,000 pounds. With that type of lift capacity, the CH-53K can transport up to four Humvees more than 100 miles.