U.S. Navy's King Stallion helicopter completes operational testing

Two-week initial operational tests took placed at Sikorksy Development Flight Center in Florida.
By Geoff Ziezulewicz  |  Oct. 21, 2016 at 10:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps' CH-53K King Stallion helicopter has completed its two-week initial operational period, the Navy announced this week.

Testing took place earlier this month at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center in Florida, the sea service said in a statement.

Tests included multiple external lift scenarios of 27,000 pounds in-hover and 12,000-pound 110 nautical mile radius missions.

Ground events included embarkation and debarkation of combat-equipped troops, internal and external cargo rigging, tactical bulk fuel delivery system operation and medevac litter configuration.

It was the first time operational testing was undertaken with an all-Marine crew.

With four aircraft in testing, the King Stallion has logged more than 200 cumulative flight hours to date.

Initial operational capability is on pace for 2019 and will involve four aircraft with combat-ready crews that are prepared to deploy.

The Pentagon aims to have 200 of the aircraft, with the Marine Corps standing up eight active duty squadrons.

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