Air Transportation: CH-53K

Archives

June 27, 2007: The U.S. Marine Corps is replacing its aging CH-53E transport helicopters with a new model, the CH-53K. These will cost $27 million each, for a buy of 146 helicopters.

The Marine Corps currently operates a number of different helicopters and for years have been planning to shrink the number of types to save on operational and procurement costs. Medium and heavy lift helicopters such as the CH-46E (over 200 in use) and the CH-53 A/D (about 70) were originally to be replaced by 348 V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. But delays in that program, and a reduction in the number of V-22s to be built, led to the CH-53K.

The CH-53E remains one of the few heavy lift helicopters that can operate in the high altitudes in Afghanistan, and they have been heavily used there. The CH-53Es average age is fifteen years, and over 3,000 flight hours. They require 44 man hours of maintenance, for each hour in the air. As a result, it costs about $20,000 for each flight hour. CH-53Es are good for about 6,000 flight hours, before metal fatigue makes them too dangerous to fly.

At the present rate of use, the Marines will begin running out of heavy-lift helicopters by 2012. Thus the decision to put the CH-53 back into production in the next five or six years, as the CH-53K. The new model will be sixteen percent heavier (at 42.3 tons) than the CH-53E and be able to carry nearly twice as much (13.5 tons). The CH-53K will be much easier to maintain, and cost about half as much, per flight hour, to operate. But the first one won't enter service for another eight years, but development is expected to be a lot more predictable than it was for the MV-22.

 


Article Archive

Air Transportation: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close