The U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command announced on Tuesday that the new CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter from Sikorsky for the United States Marine Corps officially enters Initial Operational Test and Evaluation.
“The CH-53K King Stallion officially enters Initial Operational Test and Evaluation as the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations vertical, long-range, heavy-lift, logistics backbone,” the command said in a Twitter post-Tuesday.
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 CH-53K will replace the CH-53E “Super Stallion,” which has served the Marine Corps for 40 years, and will transport Marines, heavy equipment and supplies during ship-to-shore movement in support of amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore. It will support a range of military missions, including humanitarian aid, troop and equipment/cargo transport, and casualty evacuation (CASEVAC).
The helicopter can perform missions in the modern battlefield and also support special operations forces, and combat search and rescue (CSAR) operations.
The CH-53K fleet will be inducted into service between 2023 and 2024.