A CH-53K “King Stallion” prepares to take off at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, Jan.14, 2021.
The historic moment marked the first time the CH-53K was flown after being solely maintained and brought to readiness by Marines prior to flight.
The CH-53K will replace the CH-53E “Super Stallion,” which has served the Marine Corps for 40 years, and will transport Marines, heavy equipment and supplies during ship-to-shore movement in support of amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore.
Last December, there was a chance to visit New River and to talk with VMX-1 about the way ahead for the path to IOC for the CH-53K.
In an interview with Lt. Col. Frank, officer in charge of the CH-53K Operational Test Detachment at VMX-1, the officer underscored:
“It is crucial to have a CH-53 fleet that works effectively as it is a unique capability in the USMC crucial for our way ahead operationally. It is the only aircraft we have that can move an expeditionary brigade off of our amphibious ships.”
He underscored as well that the aircraft is well along the path to IOC.
“We’ve had a lot of time with the aircraft. Our Marines have been working on it for two years now. During logistics demonstration, we took the publications, which were in their infancy, and we went through every work package.
“The bulk of the Marine Corps’ CH-53K personnel, equipment, aircraft, and support will be located at VMX-1 when the Marine Corps declares the CH-53K program is IOC.”
The slideshow highlights a stage towards IOC.
NEW RIVER, NC,
Photo by Lance Cpl. Yuritzy Gomez