Lockheed Martin’s CH-53K King Stallion passes initial operational testing. Review of test results made by crews mark pre-requisite to Milestone C.
Lockheed Martin today announced the CH-53K King Stallion successfully completed initial operational testing by the U.S. Marine Corps to verify the key capabilities of the heavy lift helicopter. The week-long operational assessment by Marine Corps pilots, aircrew and maintainers marked an important step in support of a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Milestone C decision early next year.
“This successful operational assessment by the Marine Corps is a clear sign of the maturity and the robust capability of the King Stallion,” said Dr. Michael Torok, Sikorsky Vice President CH-53K Programs. “This was a key requirement in support of the upcoming Milestone C decision, and its success is another important step in our transition from development into production.”
The U.S. Marine Corps’ initial operational testing included external lift scenarios of 27,000 lbs. (12,200 kgs) in hover and a 12,000 lb. (5,422 kg) 110 nautical mile radius mission. Ground events included embarkation / debarkation of combat equipped troops, internal and external cargo rigging, tactical bulk fuel delivery system (TBFDS) operation and medevac litter configuration.
Overall, post evaluation interviews of aircrew, ground crew and flight surgeons revealed a high regard for the operational capability demonstrated by the King Stallion. This customer assessment is a pre-requisite to Milestone C and is intended to minimize risk to successfully pass the U.S. Marine Corps operational evaluation (OPEVAL) phase for a future full rate production decision.