The CH-53K is a fully shipboard-compatible derivative design of the existing CH-53E using mature technology for Marine expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment and personnel.
The CH-53K will remain within the same shipboard footprint, while providing much greater lift, reliability, maintainability, and cost of ownership improvements. The new-build CH-53K will provide the Joint Task Force commander with double the capability of the CH-53E, thus supporting our Seapower 21 operational concepts with the ability to transport Dual Heavy HMMWVs (armored) and Light Armored Vehicle & MEFFV (LAV variant).
The CH-53K is a JROC-certified requirement needed today by the Marine Corps to meet its critical amphibious assault mission. Analysis conducted by the Marine Corps Combat Development Command indicates the current CH-53E will not support the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare concepts we intend to employ in the 2015 timeframe. Those concepts call for sea basing logistics, and command & control that will require far more vertical lift than we currently possess. In addition, operation and support costs, as well as maintainability and reliability rates, of the CH-53E are unacceptable and can only be fixed through a rigorous re-design. An independent Analysis of Alternatives conducted in 2003 determined a new-build derivative of the robust, proven CH-53E was the most cost-effective approach compared to new design/new platform, service life extension or remanufacture alternatives.
Marinized heavy lift helicopters have consistently proven their worth to the Marine Corps with their versatility and range. In recent history, during Operation Eastern Exit two CH-53Es launched from amphibious ships and flew 463 nautical miles (532.45 miles) at night, refueling twice enroute, to rescue American and foreign allies from the American Embassy in the civil war-torn capital of Mogadishu, Somalia in January 1990. Two CH-53Es rescued Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady in Bosnia in June 1995. Currently, CH-53E’s are deployed globally in support of the Global War on Terror providing critically needed heavy lift in Iraq and the Horn of Africa.
United States Marine Corps
Naval Air Systems Command
Heavy Lift Program Office
47123 Buse Road Bldg. 2272,
Suite 162 Patuxent River, MD 20670
27,000 lbs to 110 nm (40% improvement over CH-53E)
2015 (2014 possible)
156 (Plus 5 test a/c)
Estimated Unit Cost:
$42.1 Million ($FY03)