IAF Sea Stallions crack a half century of service
The Israel Air Force is marking 50 years of CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter operations.
Designated ‘Yas'ur’ in Israeli service, the Sea Stallion entered service with the IAF on 26 October 1969 with the 114th (Night Leaders) Squadron. Today the fleet is operated by the 114th and 118th Squadrons for a range of roles including heavy lift transportation and combat troop insertion/extraction.
The platform has been upgraded several times over the years but the helicopter's chassis remains unchanged. Upgrades and replacements of engines, rotor blades and onboard systems have all been carried out.
Maintaining the 50 year old aircraft presents a challenge, due to lack of available spare parts. And as the airframe has passed the manufacturer’s 10,000 flight hour limit, new modes of inspection are frequently introduced to ensure the aircraft remain fit for purpose.
Talks are currently being held regarding replacements for the helicopter, but a decision has yet to have been made.
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