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U.S. Marines delayed start of CH-53K operational testing by almost 2 years

The CH-53K King Stallion is a new build aircraft with the same logistical footprint as the current CH-53E Super Stallion served as the workhorse of the Marine Corps for more than 30 years, but is fly-by-wire, software driven and it can lift three times more.

The Marine Corps’ CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter is intended to transport armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations.

The CH-53K helicopter has been designed and built to the exacting standards of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and will serve as its critical land and sea based logistics connector. The new heavy lifter will allow the U.S. Marine Corps and international militaries to move troops and equipment from ship to shore, and to higher altitude terrain, more quickly and effectively than ever before.

The CH-53K program entered production in March 2017 with mature critical technologies and a stable design, but without demonstrated production processes.

“Due to a number of technical deficiencies identified through developmental testing, since last year’s assessment, the program office has delayed the start of operational testing by almost 2 years, to May 2021, and postponed initial operational capability by 20 months, to September 2021,” the Government Accountability Office said in a compelling report.

The Government Accountability Office said in its annual survey of Defense Department acquisitions that the program office identified two critical technologies—the main rotor blade and the main gearbox—for CH-53K. Although,the program office reported that both critical technologies are mature, there are technical issues with the main gear box causing low service life projections. The program office also noted that while there are parts shortages with the main gearbox,the supplier has recently improved its manufacturing processes in an effort to reduce the backlog of needed parts. It is too soon to tell if this will reduce …read more

Read more here:: Defence Blog (Naval)

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