The first Connecticut-built heavy lift helicopter – which can withstand longer-range missions in poor environments – is now in the hands of the US Marine Corps.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, last week celebrated the completion of the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter at its facility in Stratford, Connecticut.
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The King Stallion, which was created using “advanced technologies such as manufacturing simulation and 3D laser inspection technology,” is the first completely digitally designed helicopter, according to Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo.
The Marine Corps will use the aircraft to transport armored vehicles, equipment and personnel “to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based operations center,” Sikorsky says .
Additionally, the helicopter can maneuver in low visibility environments and deploy Marines more quickly and efficiently, according to Deputy Aviation Commander Lt. Gen. Mark R. Wise.
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“The CH-53K helicopter provides advanced capabilities allowing Marines to travel anywhere in the world where the mission requires heavy lift logistics support,” said Wise.
It will be stationed at Marine Corps Aviation Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina, ahead of its first deployment in 2024, Lemmo said.
The helicopter is part of a record 200 aircraft program for the Marine Corps and one of more than 30 aircraft under contract. There are nine additional helicopters under contract for long lead parts, according to Sikorsky.