The CH-53K King Stallion, the Marine Corps’ newest heavy-lift helicopter, demonstrated its heavy-lift capability, lifting an F-35 Lightning II for the first time at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
A CH-53K King Stallion with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron one (VMX-1), has lifted an F-35BC airframe during Helicopter Support Team operations.
The Marine Corps said in a release that CLB-24 helicopter support team Marines conducted external lift operations of the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant to develop tactics, techniques, and procedures of the CH-53K King Stallions.
The CH-53K King Stallion multi-mission helicopter can lift up to 36,000 pounds of equipment, holds up to 30 troops, and features a computerized fly-by-wire system for semiautonomous piloting. It is designed to conduct expeditionary assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations, critical in the Indo-Pacific region.
The King Stallion 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.