The Israel Defense Ministry has announced the selection of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion as the new transport helicopter for the Israel Defense Forces or IDF (Israel Defense Force). This replaces the veteran fleet of the CH version -53, known as Yas’ur in Israel and in service since several 1960s after several local changes. We are also facing an intensely busy fleet as these are the “workhorses”. the infantry and special forces of the IDF, which require intensive maintenance and spare parts.
On February 25, a brief press release reported that Defense Minister Gantz accepted the recommendations of the IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Aviv Kohavi, and the General Director of the Defense Ministry, Major General (retired). Amir Eshel to select CH-53K. Gantz said the decision was made after extensive administrative work in which Israeli Air Force personnel examined various flight platforms and assessed aspects such as technology, engineering and maintenance. The final decision was made between this new and expensive Sikorsky model and the Boeing CH-47F Chinook twin turbine.
The CH-53K King Stallion is a new heavy lift helicopter developed by Sikorsky to meet the demanding operational requirements of the United States Marine Corps or the US Marine Corps (USMC), which received its first aircraft on May 16, 2018 and that should be equipped with about 200 units. In addition to the CH-47F, Germany would also have it as a candidate for its replacement program for the CH-53G. We are faced with an excellent medium whose price per unit of more than $ 138 million does not make it available to any country.
It is characterized by a loading capacity of almost 16 tons or 55 passengers, which implies a large capacity of the fleet to move more material faster. The key lies in the performance of three latest generation General Electric T-408 engines, which are more powerful and more fuel efficient than the T-64 engines currently equipped with those of the CH-53E.
The CH-53K is increasing production, currently more than 30 of these aircraft in various stages of construction, and is on the way to operational use by the USMC in 2023/24. The CH-53K has achieved many milestones that demonstrate its unique capabilities, including extensive fly-by-wire tests, first sea trials and air-to-air refueling, and additional exercises under extreme operating conditions. Aircrews and military technicians are currently being trained to prepare for the first operational tests, which will take place this spring. (Julio Maíz Sanz)
Photo: Digital image of what the IDF CH-53K helicopters would look like. (Photo Ministry of Defense of Israel)
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