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CH-53K King Stallion tests sea legs in two-week trial aboard Navy ship

A team of pilots and engineers from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River recently completed a crucial series of sea trials of the CH-53K King Stallion that not only provided them with valuable developmental test information about the aircraft but could change the way the squadron conducts similar tests in the future.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Official U.S. Navy file photo of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). (Picture source: U.S. Navy)

Recently, the CH-53K King Stallion completed two weeks of sea trials, completing 364 landings and takeoffs, day and night, from all nine deck spots and in various wind conditions to demonstrate its versatility and ability to operate from a ship on deployment.

The CH-53K sea trials integrated test team consisted of nearly 100 people including Sikorsky, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Marine Corps’ operational test squadron.

The CH-53K King Stallion advances Sikorsky’s 50 years of manufacturing and operational success with its CH-53A, CH-53D/G, and CH-53E predecessors. Built to thrive on the modern battlefield, including shipboard operations, the CH-53K aircraft is designed to be intelligent, reliable, low maintenance and survivable in the most austere and remote forward operating bases.

The CH-53K helicopter has been designed and built to the exacting standards of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and will serve as its critical land and sea-based logistics connector. The new heavy lifter will allow the U.S. Marine Corps and international militaries to move troops and equipment from ship to shore, and to higher altitude terrain, more quickly and effectively than ever before.

Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001The CH-53K King Stallion prepares to take off from the deck of the USS Wasp (LHD) at sea during its first sea trials. (Picture source: U.S. Navy)