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King Stallion gets its feet wet
US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced on 24 June that the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion has successfully completed an initial two weeks of sea trials on USS Wasp in the Atlantic.
Activities included launch and recovery; rotor start and shutdown; blade fold; and shipboard compatibility testing.
All tests were held in increasing wind speed and varying wind directions relative to the aircraft.
‘I’m very pleased with how the ship tests went,’ said Col Jack Perrin, NAVAIR H-53 helicopters programme manager. ‘We were able to assess the K taking off and landing day, night, and with night vision goggles and it performed extremely well.’
He added: ‘The bulk of the testing was in launch and recovery, and we nailed it every time, no matter what the wind/sea conditions were. The 53K is now a “feet-wet” warrior from the sea.’
The CH-53K King Stallion now moves towards completion of developmental tests, leading to initial operational test and evaluation in 2021 and the first fleet deployment in 2023-2024.
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