Tag Archives: CH-53

Photo Feature: Cold Response 2016

About 15,000 troops, including 2,000 of non-NATO member Sweden, 40 aircraft and helicopters, about a thousand vehicles and several ships and boats are currently kicking a** in Northern and Central Norway. Exercise Cold Response included the taking of the normally peaceful village of Namsos, situated on the shores of beautiful fjords.

The 7th edition of the multinational winter war exercise hosted by Norway brings units from mainly NATO countries together, to show what they can as “bad” and “good” force against each other. To train for a possible real war scenario and to show NATO’s current strange “friend” Russia that the North American-European alliance still can.

The Swedes participating took the run-up to Cold Response very seriously, as you could read earlier here at Airheadsfly.com.

We selected some of the great images of this years edition made by Norwegian defence photographers for you. Have fun!

Featured image (top): From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)

A F-16 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force taking off from Bodø Main Air Station to escort a USAF B-52 bomber over Namsos. The departure marks the start of the winter exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A F-16 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force taking off from Bodø Main Air Station to escort a USAF B-52 bomber over Namsos. The departure marks the start of the winter exercise Cold Response 2016 (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A short time later followed by a Belgian Air Component F-16AM (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
A short time later followed by a Belgian Air Component F-16AM (Image © Gard Eirik Seter / Luftforsvaret)
From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
From the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM, closing in on the American B-52. (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Hi Buff! Seen from the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Hi Buff! Seen from the back seat of a RNoAF F-16BM (Image © 331 SQN / Forsvaret)
Once about to be axed due to budget cuts, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed Cougars both in the old camo as well as the newer overall grey paint scheme to Cold Response 2016  (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
Once about to be axed due to budget cuts, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed Cougars both in the old camo as well as the newer overall grey paint scheme to Cold Response 2016 (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
The Marines have landed, or almost, as this Sikorsky CH-53E is about to put some boots on the ground (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
The Marines have landed, or almost, as this Sikorsky CH-53E is about to put some boots on the ground (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And there they are, as a small surprise coming from the USMC Sea Stallion, Royal Netherlands Marines in the Scandinavian snow ... looking fancy and all in their new ski goggles (Image ©  Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And there they are, as a small surprise coming from the USMC Sea Stallion, Royal Netherlands Marines in the Scandinavian snow … looking fancy and all in their new ski goggles (Image © Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret)
And especially for those who like photoshopped blue skies (we don't discuss taste) here are the two Dutch Cougars and US Marines CH-53E navigating through the Norwegian landscape (Image ©  Julie Kristiansen Johansen / Forsvaret)
And especially for those who like photoshopped blue skies (we don’t discuss taste) here are the two Dutch Cougars and US Marines CH-53E navigating through the Norwegian landscape (Image © Julie Kristiansen Johansen / Forsvaret)
The crew of a Royal Norwegian Armed Forces Bell 412 at work (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
The crew of a Royal Norwegian Armed Forces Bell 412 at work (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
After dropping off Dutch troops, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougar takes off (Image © Annette Ask / Forsvaret)
After dropping off Dutch troops, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Cougar takes off (Image © Annette Ask / Forsvaret)
A rather gorgious image of a Swedish HKP 15 (Agusta A109) at sundown (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
A rather gorgious image of a Swedish HKP 15 (Agusta A109) at sundown (Image © Kristian Kapelrud / Forsvaret)
Photo flight of the naval battle group steaming impressively forwards (Image © Elias Engevik)
Photo flight of the naval battle group steaming impressively forwards (Image © Elias Engevik)
Norwegian and Beligan F-16s preparing for another mission (Image © Olav Standal Tangen / Forsvaret)
Norwegian and Beligan F-16s preparing for another mission (Image © Olav Standal Tangen / Forsvaret)

Search for missing USMC helos near Hawaii

UPDATED 17 January | Rescue workers in Hawaii are still searching for two United States Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53 helicopters and their occupants following an apparent colission between the helos over the Pacific on Friday 15 January.

Update: No trace of the helicopters was found until Sunday 17 January. The Pentagon has released the names of those missing, while the search continues.

The two giant CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter are part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and are based at Marine Corps Air Station  Kaneohe Bay. Both were on a routine training mission when they  apparently collided just before midnight local time. Each helicopter carried six persons on board.

Debris is said to have been spotted, but no sign of survivors yet. Also, no mayday call was heard from the helicopters.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Two Sikorsky Super Stallion are missing off Hawaii. (Image © USMC / Sgt. Lillian Stephens)

New giant: first flight for CH-53K

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter prototype, known as Engineering Development Model-1 (EDM-1), celebrated its first flight on Tuesday 27 October. The  flight of the new United States Marine Corps (USMC) heavylift chopper signals the beginning of a 2,000-hour flight test program using four test aircraft.  The flight comes after earlier delays over transmission system and gear box issues.

During its 30 minute maiden flight the EDM-1 aircraft performed hover, sideward, rearward and forward flight  control inputs while in ground effect hover up to 30  feet above the ground.  As the flight test program proceeds, the EDM-1 will be joined by an additional 3 EDM aircraft to fully expand the King Stallion’s flight envelope over the course of the three-year flight test program

“EDM-1’s first flight signifies another major milestone for the CH-53K helicopter program,” said Mike Torok, Sikorsky’s CH-53K Program Vice President. “Having independently tested the aircraft’s many components and subsystems, including integrated system level testing on the Ground Test Vehicle, we are now moving on to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program.”

Features
Features of the CH-53K helicopter include a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth-generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking, United States Air Force pallet compatible cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintainability and supportability.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K aircraft with a Initial Operational Capability in 2019. The Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.

Source: Sikorsky, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The CH-53K, seen moments after lift off. (Image © Sikorsky)

German Giants in the US

The German Air Force always has had a strong presence in the US for training purposes, but its Sikorsky CH-53G Super Jolly Green Giants are rarely seen on US soil. That changed with the arrival of three CH-53s at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, for exercise Angel Thunder this month.

Angel Thunder is a large Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) exercise that takes place in the US Southwest, starting 20 May. The exercise specializes in CSAR operations in difficult conditions. A total of eight nations take part and Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, serves as the epicentre of the exercise.

The big helicopters were transported from their German home in Laupheim to Holloman by Antonov An-124 transport aircraft. At Holloman, the German choppers were readied for flight again.

Holloman is Germany’s home-away-from-home in the US. Countless German fighter pilots received their training here, on F-4 Phantoms in the past and on Tornado fighter-bombers in the present.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): One of the CH-53s at Holloman. (Image © Luftwaffe/Astrid Burger-Weber)

Big capacity problems for US Navy Green Giants

Roughly a year after a MH-53 Sea Dragon crashed off the east coast of the United States, the US Navy is still suffering of big capacity problems with its Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon and CH-53 Sea Stallion fleet. Less than half of these “Super Jolly Green Giants” – as they were known in the 1970s when the US Air Force operated olive green painted versions – are operational. The rest remains grounded.

Official numbers were confirmed this week by the US Navy, which had all its CH-53/MH-53 crews undergo inspection trainings. Moreover all choppers, the biggest in US service, need to undergo rewiring which turned out to be a time-costly operation.

On Friday 24 April 2015 sixty-eight of the 177 Super Stallions and Sea Dragons are back in the air, with inspections done on a 118 choppers. It might take another year before the majority of the heavy-lift rotary wing is back into service.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A US Navy MH-53 lands in Hoboken, New Jersey on 3 November 2012 (Image © Cpl. Bryan Nygaard / US Marine Corps)