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King Stallion embarks on IOT&E

9th August 2021 - 13:01 GMT | by David Isby in Washington DC

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CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter at Marine Corps Air Station New River. (Photo: USMC)

Sikorsky and the USMC hope for a decision on CH-53K full-rate production in 2023, followed by a first operational deployment in 2024 and full operational capability by the end of the decade.

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter is poised to demonstrate in-flight refuelling in August after initial operational testing and evaluation (IOT&E) began in July.

Speaking on 3 August during a briefing at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space conference in Washington DC, USMC programme manager Col Jack Perrin said that since the first fleet flight of the CH-53K in January 2021, crews from the VMX-1 operational test and development squadron carried out 250h of preparations for IOT&E. 

The IOT&E phase includes deployments to demonstrate required performance under field conditions. In August, for example, CH-53Ks will demonstrate their capability to be refuelled

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