CH-53K King Stallion makes the grade

Avatar for Glenn SandsBy Glenn Sands | September 16, 2022

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

The U.S. Marine Corps has reported that Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallions of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 461 have participated in their first fleet exercise and met all expectations. 

“The CH-53K is more powerful, safer and an easier-to-maintain helicopter,” said Lt. Col. Adam Horne, commanding officer of HMH 461, in a U.S.M.C news report on the flight. “That’ll allow each wing commander more capacity to sustain the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in an austere environment.”

The U.S. Marine Corps has ordered 200 CH-53K King Stallions to replace the older generation CH-53E Super Stallions. Photo U.S. Marine Corps

The CH-53K was issued its IOC (initial operating capability) in April 2022, with HMH 461 bring the first operational unit to receive the new variant. The King Stallion is already making a significant impact within the Corps.

“The benefits are endless,” said Staff Sgt. James Ganieany, airframes division chief for HMH 461. “We practice our external [lifts] with a light armoured vehicle [LAV], and we never have power issues.”

“Routinely training with a LAV for an external load, to me, is absolute mind boggling,” said Staff Sgt. Dakota Schneider, a crew chief instructor with Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1. “It’s got power for days; you can do anything you want.”

Mountain Home, Idaho was selected as the first deployment for training with the CH-53K because it provided a different climate and terrain to North Carolina, HMH 461’s home state. 

“We have a lot of environmental flying that we don’t get to do in New River, [North Carolina]” said Ganieany. “Canyons, mountains, desert, it’s a complete 180 of what we’re used to flying in.” 

The CH-53K can fly at higher altitudes, for longer distances and in hotter conditions compared to the older CH-53E. The unit used these improved capabilities to assist in providing data for future CH-53K production and employment. 

The U.S. Marine Corps expects to deploy the CH-53K to the fleet in 2023-2024. At present, the service has a procurement objective of 200 helicopters. 

Notice a spelling mistake or typo?

Click on the button below to send an email to our team and we will get to it as soon as possible.

Report an error or typo

Have a story idea you would like to suggest?

Click on the button below to send an email to our team and we will get to it as soon as possible.

Suggest a story

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.