Tag Archives: King Stallion

“German Air Force likely flies Chinooks in 2020”

The German Air Force will be operating the Boeing “CH-47GE” Chinook from 2020 and onward, as a replacement of its current Sikorsky CH-53G heavy-lift helicopter. Although no official plans have been announced yet, it is a likely scenario looking at the options the military decision makers in Berlin will have to weigh.

While Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin are currently putting the new CH-53K King Stallion through its testing face, the chances of this newer 33 ton rotary wing winning the replacement order for Germany’s current G-versions are getting slimmer. Berlin might very well go for the “CH-47GE” (German Edition) of the Boeing Chinook for three very good reasons.

Supporting the German-Dutch Army Corps, a Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47F Chinook (Image  © Marcel Burger)
Supporting the German-Dutch Army Corps, a Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47F Chinook (Image © Marcel Burger)

With NATO allies

First, with 40 to 50 million a piece, the most modern Chinook will costs about half of the CH-53K, which has a base price tag of 93 million. Second Boeing is working hard to increase both lift and range of its CH-47 model. Third the interoperability with important NATO allies will improve big time, making even joint maintenance and further cost reduction possible. For example, the US Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade in Germany flies the Chinook, as well as the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s support to 1 German Dutch Army Corps of 30,000 troops.

Boeing CH-47 Chinooks of the US Army's 12th Combat Aviation Regiment preparing for Afghanistan in Germany, March 2014 (Image © Staff Sgt. Caleb Barrieau / USARE)
Boeing CH-47 Chinooks of the US Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Regiment preparing for Afghanistan in Germany, March 2014 (Image © Staff Sgt. Caleb Barrieau / USARE)

The new Chinook

Boeing plans to start testing its newest rotor blade later this year in Mesa, Arizona. Equipped with new honeycomb rotor blades, more powerful engines and other smart solutions like a new digital advanced flight-control system Boeing hopes to increase the maximum take-off weight of its most current CH-47F so the useful load will be almost 30,000 lb (13,600 kilograms). That’s 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) more than the projected Block 2 upgrade for the US Army. It puts the new Chinook on the map as air lifter for almost all smaller German Army equipment, all the way up to the Mowag Eagle IV and V wheeled vehicles of which the Bundeswehr has orderd 670.

First RCAF Chinook CH-147F arrives at Ottawa (Image © Ken Allan / RCAF)
First RCAF Chinook CH-147F arrives at Ottawa (Image © Ken Allan / RCAF)

Royal Canadian Air Force Extended Range

As for distance, the Royal Canadian Air Force already has good experiences with Extend Range fuel tanks on its 15 CH-147F Chinooks flying with 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron out of Petawawa, Ontario. The choppers are able to operate on distances up to 595 nautical miles (1,100 km) from home before refueling is needed. The CH-53K can fly up to 460 nautical miles (852 km) without reserves, but the Sikorsky’s combat range is 90 nautical miles (almost 170 km) less than that of the base-model CH-47F.


Check our visit to the
CH-53GA upgrade facilities in Donauwörth, Germany

(Image © Dennis Spronk)
(Image © Dennis Spronk)


Current CH-53GA

Whatever the outcome of the debate to replace the current heavy-lift chopper of the German Armed Forces, the Boeing “CH-47GE” currently has the best cards on the table. Until the new rotary wing will arrive, the Luftwaffe will soldier on with its 40 recently modernized CH-53GA and its remaining 26 CH-53s of the older G/GS standard making up a fleet of 66 impressive machines.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47 near the city of Arnhem, in 2014 (Image © Dennis Spronk)

The current German rotary air lift at full speed: a CH-53 lifting essential needs into a combat zone (Image  © Marcel Burger)
The current German rotary air lift at full speed: a CH-53 lifting essential needs into a combat zone (Image © Marcel Burger)

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)

Sikorsky puts extra weight onto the 53Kilo

Official presentation of the first CH-53K in USMC livery on 5 May 2014, at the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut  (Image © Sikorsky)
Official presentation of the first CH-53K in USMC livery on 5 May 2014, at the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut (Image © Sikorsky)

LATEST UPDATE 6 MAY 2014 | It is far from flying, but looking more and more like a real helicopter. Sikorsky has started to begin full system testing of its newest version of the CH-53 Sea Stallion: the CH-53K King Stallion. It will be the heaviest helicopter ever produced by the company and – once in service – the biggest for the American armed forces.

At its plant in Stratford, Connecticut, the manufacturer has no fitted all seven main rotor blades and four tail rotor blades to the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV). Powered “Light-Off” with rotor blades spinning follows a “Bare Head” (without blades) test phase of the GTV aircraft’s systems powered by its three GE 7,500 horsepower engines. It is the beginning of a two-year test program of the rotor blades, transmission, engines, and all subsystems while the GTV is anchored to the ground.

GE Aviation’s all-new T408 engine plays a key role in the increased capability of the CH-53K helicopter. Compared to the CH-53E aircraft’s T64 turboshaft powerplant, the three new engines provide 57 percent more power for approximately 20 percent lower specific fuel consumption. To convert the extra engine power into torque and shaft horsepower within a similarly-sized main gearbox, Sikorsky developed a new transmission that efficiently transfers the engine power to the CH-53K helicopter’s main rotors.

Flight test program
The CH-53K will also go through a three-year flight test program. In the end, the Super Stallion should be able to lift 88,000 pounds (39,916 kg) of cargo max. with an external load. The first ever flight of the four test choppers to be produced is expected in the end of 2014. The four flight test machines will make about 500 flight hours, while other tests continue on the GTV.

The US Marine Corps plans to purchase at least 120 of the CH-53Ks, to equip ten squadrons including one training and one reserve. The first machine in USMC livery war revealed on 5 May 2014, together with the new official name for the K-model: the King Stallion as successor to the Super Stallion (E-model) that followed the Sea Stallion. What’s next? A fellow aviation enthousiast already proposed via Twitter to name the next version the Emperor Stallion.

Source: Sikorsky

The CH-53K GTV runs first tests with all rotor blades attached (Image © Sikorsky)
The CH-53K GTV runs first tests with all rotor blades attached (Image © Sikorsky)