According to the CH-53K test team, the wake survey test assessed the performance of the aircraft when flying behind the tanker in strong, turbulent air. The aircraft’s crew successfully plugged the drogue, a funnel shaped basket towed behind the KC-130J. These tests were performed at increasing closure rates to ensure the CH-53K can handle the forces on the refueling probe when contacting the drogue during aerial refueling.
“The aircraft went to the tanker this week and it was very successful, proving it is a long-range vertical logistic workhorse”Col. Jack Perrin, H-53 heavy lift helicopters (PMA-261) program manager.
“The aircraft was able to meet the desired performance for all engagements,” said Perrin. “The ‘K’ is the long-range enabler that we need now and into the future.”
The CH-53K King Stallion continues to execute within the reprogrammed CH-53K timeline, moving toward completion of developmental test, leading to initial operational test and evaluation in 2021 and first fleet deployment in 2023-2024.
About the CH-53K King Stallion
Aircraft Length: 30 meters
Aircraft Height: 8.6 meters
Max Gross Weight: 39,916 kg
Speed: 170 knots / 315 km/h
Ceiling: 4,380 m
Power Plant: Three T408-GE-400 turboshaft engines rated at 7,332 SHP
Crew: 4 – pilot, copilot, crew chief and mechanic/gunner