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Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion Lifts F-35C in External Load Test

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND PATUXENT RIVER, Md.: A CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) performed an external load certification lift of an inoperable F-35 Lightning II airframe in December at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland. The lift was to evaluate the load and inform future lift capabilities. The CH-53K is the most powerful helicopter ever developed by the United States government. This new-build helicopter will continue to fill the CH-53E Super Stallion mission as a pillar of logistics and assault support for the U.S. Marine Corps efforts, but with significant improvements such as state-of-the-art, fly-by-wire technology reducing pilot work load, contributing to aircraft stability, and improving overall safety. The recent full rate production decision for the CH-53K is validation of the aircraft’s value to the U.S. Marine Corps and last month’s test lift is one more demonstration of its performance and reliability. The NAS Patuxent River F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF) test team, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Cargo Lab, and others ensured a successful lift and flight by conducting load certification testing, sling configuration analysis, and cargo characteristics documentation were completed as required. Data from the tests […]

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