Lockheed Martin announced on June 23 that the CH-53K King Stallion successfully completed an external lift of a 27,000-lb (12,246 kg) payload at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
The company said the aircraft executed an ‘out of ground effect’ (OGE) external load test at 100ft (30.5m) above the ground while performing hover maneuvers to demonstrate its control authority in this flight regime.
An OGE load is the most stressful of lift conditions for a helicopter from the standpoint of the power required. OGE is defined as altitudes greater than the helicopter’s main rotor diameter (79ft [24m] in the King Stallion’s case) where power demand greatly increases due to loss of the benefit of ground effect.
The CH-53K has already achieved speeds exceeding 140kts, and a third helicopter has joined the flight test program, accelerating the pace to full aircraft maturity and production. The first two aircraft have already verified the King Stallion’s capabilities well in excess of the predecessor CH-53E. A fourth King Stallion is currently in final preparation for flight status and on track to join the flight test program this summer.
The King Stallion next will carry a 27,000lb external load over 110 nautical miles at 91.5°F/33°C and at an altitude of 3,000ft – a Navy operational requirement for “high hot” conditions. The CH-53K helicopter will provide unmatched heavy lift capability with reduced logistics footprint and reduced support costs over its entire life cycle.
June 24, 2016