The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) reported that the new CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter has surpassed 500 flight hours and completed AN/ALE-47Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System testing.
“CH-53K test aircraft “K-4” surpassed 500 flight hours while completing ALE-47 chaff flare testing this week,” the NAVAIR message states.
The AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System is used to protect military aircraft from incoming radar and infrared homing missiles. It works by dispensing flares or chaff. It is used on a variety of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army aircraft, as well as in other militaries.
The CH-53K is meant to replace the Marine Corps’ fleet of nearly 40-year-old CH-53E heavy-lift helicopters. The King Stallion has several upgrades over the legacy aircraft including a digital glass cockpit and fly-by-wire controls. It can externally transport 27,000 lbs. over 110 nautical miles and has a max external lift of 36,000 lbs., three times that of the legacy “E” aircraft.
The CH-53K aircraft is designed to be intelligent, reliable, low maintenance and survivable in the most austere and remote forward operating bases.
The CH-53K helicopter has been designed and built to the exacting standards of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and will serve as its critical land and sea based logistics connector. The new heavy lifter will allow the U.S. Marine Corps and international militaries to move troops and equipment from ship to shore, and to higher altitude terrain, more quickly and effectively than ever before.
The CH-53K transition will begin over the next couple of years with a slow integration into the fleet with expected completion in FY30, according to a recent service news release.