Description: 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.
CH-53D Sea Stallion is an improved variant of CH-53A. CH-53A/D models are powered by two General Electric T64 turboshaft engines and feature a six-bladed main rotor. 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. US Air Force H-53 aircraft led to the MH-53J Pave Low III.
The CH-53E Super Stallion, also referred to by Sikorsky as the S-80, is an enlarged variant of CH-53D model. CH-53E is powered by three T64-GE-416 turboshaft engines and has a main rotor with seven blade instead of only six in previous models. These changes are meant to greatly improve CH-53E lifting capabilities. Between 1980 and 1999 Sikorsky delivered approximately 150 CH-53E helicopters to the Marine Corps. The US Navy also ordered the CH-53E for fleet resupply.
The US Marine Corps Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program calls for development and procurement of 156 new-built helicopters derived from the CH-53E Super Stallion. HLR program started in 2004 with an initial risk reduction contract award to Sikorsky. According to current USMC plans the first HLR should be delivered to the Corps in 2014. The Pentagon is expected to issue the HLR System Development and Demonstration phase during fiscal year 2006.
HLR/CH-53X helicopter will feature 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).
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