Lockheed-made CH-53K helicopter will fly with an Israeli flag
TEL AVIV, (BM) – The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion will be the Israeli army’s new heavy-duty helicopter. The Israeli Government decided on February 25th. Only two participants were admitted to the tender for new helicopters in the final, the second being the Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
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Experts in Israel and worldwide say Tel Aviv’s decision is essential for the country’s air force. The reason is simple – the Israeli military uses the CH-53 Sea Stallion “Yasur,” which has been in service since the 1960s.
Benny Ganz, Israel’s defense minister, believes the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion will allow troops to carry out a wide range of operational activities. Ganz says the helicopter will put Israel in a good position in the “challenges of a changing battlefield.”
Tests for almost two years
At the end of January 2019, Israel confirmed that the two companies (Lockheed Martin and Boeing) were the two admitted to the final to select new helicopters.
The Israeli Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement that both helicopters had passed several tests. The helicopter selection stages also included an in-depth assessment of the engineering and several alternatives, an assessment of the technology, maintenance, and, of course, the costs that the Jewish state would incur.
In 2019, Israeli sources claimed that the Israeli army would support the purchase of the Boeing helicopter. In addition to the Israeli Air Force, the Land Forces Command also preferred the Boeing version.
CH-53 Sea Stallion “Yasur” will fly at least until 2028
The current version used by the Israeli military – a helicopter CH-53 Sea Stallion “Yasur” will be in service until 2028, experts say. The transfer between the new and old helicopters will take several years.
CH-53 Sea Stallion “Yasur” has been upgraded several times over the years. The most significant update was the equipping of Israeli helicopters with an electronic warfare system.
There are also tragic cases with this helicopter in the Israeli army. Two Israeli army helicopters crashed in 1997 and one in 2019. The cause of the second accident was a manufacturing defect, unofficial sources claim.
There have been dozens of emergency landings due to a technical malfunction of the CH-53 Sea Stallion “Yasur” in the last few years. According to reports, Israel currently has 23 CH-53 Sea Stallion “Yasur” helicopters and is expected to buy at least 25 Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion.
What do we know about Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion?
The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being produced by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The design features three 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants.
It will be the most extensive and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military. The USMC plans to receive 200 helicopters at a total cost of $25 billion. Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) testing started in April 2014; flight testing began with the maiden flight on 27 October 2015. In May 2018, the first CH-53K had delivered to the Marine Corps.
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