The U.S. Navy has announced the completion of the first sea trials of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter. According to the Navy, testing took place on the landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. The two-week trials included launch and recovery operations, rotor start and shutdown, blade fold and shipboard compatibility testing.
“I’m very pleased with how the ship tests went,” said H-53 helicopters program manager Col. Jack Perrin. “We were able to assess the K taking off and landing day, night, and with night vision goggles and it performed extremely well.”
The GE T408-powered CH-53K features an integrated vehicle health monitoring system, glass cockpit and fly-by-wire controls. The aircraft successfully completed a 4.5-hour air-to-air refueling test in April and has previously completed high altitude, hot temperature, and degraded visual environment flights. The Navy expects to begin initial operational testing and evaluation of the CH-53K in 2021 followed by the first fleet deployment in 2023-2024.