Specialists of the US Marine corps has tested a promising heavy transport aircraft CH-53K King Stallion to refuel in the air. As reports Defense Aerospace, the inspections were conducted in the framework of the final phase of flight tests and were considered completely successful.
King Stallion is a deep modernization of the CH-53E. The development of the CH-53K, the largest U.S. helicopter, was launched in 2006. The machine made its first flight in October 2015, and 2018 for the preliminary flight test King Stallion began, the U.S. Marine corps.
Maximum takeoff weight of the new transport helicopter is 39.9 tons. The machine can carry on the external load cargo with the weight up to 12.2 tons. Combat radius of the helicopter is about 200 kilometers. The CH-53K, is equipped with three engines GE38-1B, capable of speeds up to 315 kilometers per hour.
Tests CH-53K for aerial refueling were conducted on the Chesapeake Bay; their duration was 4.5 hours. During the tests simulated refueling from a tanker aircraft KC-130J. In-flight specialists on Board the helicopter to assess the effect of aerodynamic Wake of the tanker aircraft to the handling King Stallion.
In addition, tests were conducted by attaching the fuel rods to the fuel cone “flying tanker” KC-130J and separation from him. The fuel for the helicopter during these tests was not pumped. All the checks carried out were found to be successful.
Until the end of 2020 CH-53K must undergo a series of tests, and in 2021, the U.S. Marine corps will start trial operation of the helicopter. It adopting also planned for 2021.
The world’s largest heavy transport helicopter produced in quantity, is then Mi-26. Maximum takeoff weight is 56 tons. The helicopter can carry loads up to 20 tons. Mi-26 is capable of speeds up to 295 kilometers per hour, and its flight range at maximum load is 475 miles.