Description: The Sikorsky H-53 program was born to meet the requirements of the US Marine Corps (USMC) for a heavy-lift transport helicopter suitable for shipboard operations. Its primary mission is to transport supplies, troops and equipment in support of amphibious and shore operations. The program was launched in the early 1960s with the CH-53A Sea Stallion achieving initial operational capability (IOC) in November 1966. The CH-53D Sea Stallion is an improved variant of CH-53A. The CH-53A/D models are powered by two General Electric T64 turboshaft engines and feature a six-bladed main rotor. The CH-53D is powered by two T64-GE-413 engines rated at 3,935-shp each. In addition to A and D models for the USMC, Sikorsky also developed the HH-53B/C/H variant for the US Air Force and the RH-53D Airborne MineCountermeasures (AMCM) for the US Navy. The US Air Force H-53 aircraft led to the development of the MH-53J Pave Low III.
The US Marine Corps Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program was launched for the development and production of 156 new-built helicopters derived from the CH-53E Super Stallion. The HLR program started in 2004 with an initial risk reduction contract award to Sikorsky. According to the USMC plans the first HLR test aircraft should be delivered to the Corps in 2014. The intended HLR/CH-53X helicopter features upgraded engines, improved rotor blades, new avionics, new rotorhead, improved survivability, and longer service life than Super Stallion. Based on the CH-53E Super Stallion the CH-53X will nearly double to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles. The aircraft's maximum gross weight will increase to 84,700 pounds.
On April 5, 2006 Sikorsky received a $3 billion contract from the United States Marine Corps for the CH-53K, previously known as the CH-53X, heavy-lift helicopter System Development and Demonstration (SDD). Work was to be centered at Stratford facility, Connecticut, with the SDD completion expected by December 2015. In late June 2006, Sikorsky Aircraft announced the Rockwell Collins selection to provide the CH-53K avionics management system (AMS). AMS consists of five fully integrated active matrix liquid crystal multifunction displays (MFD), dual integrated processing cabinets (IPC), dual control display units (CDU), and dual data transfer units (DTU). On May 5, 2014, the CH-53K was revealed as the King Stallion. The first CH-53K King Stallions are planned to achieve initial operational capability within the USMC by 2019.
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