The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on 25 February that it has chosen Lockheed Martin’s heavy-lift CH-53K King Stallion as a new Israel Defense Force᾿s (IDF) transport helicopter, replacing the current “Yas’ur” (CH-53) model.
On Thursday, the Ministry press release said that Defense Minister Gantz accepted the recommendations presented by IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, and Defense Ministry Director-General Maj. Gen. (Res.), Amir Eshel, to select Lockheed Martin CH-53K helicopters as the IDF’s new heavy-lift aircraft.
“It is essential to the IDF’s ability to carry out a wide range of operational activities. The new helicopter is adapted to the [IAF’s] operational requirements and to the challenges of the changing battlefield.,” said Minister Gantz.
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Also added that the decision was made after extensive administrative work, during which Israeli Air Force personnel examined various flight platforms and evaluated aspects such as technology, engineering, maintenance, and more.
The CH-53K King Stallion is a new heavy-lift helicopter developed by Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin, for the United States Marine Corps.
It is an all-new heavy-lift helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material more rapidly. That power comes from three new General Electric T-408 engines, which are more powerful and more fuel efficient than the T-64 engines currently outfitted on the CH-53E.
As noted by Sikorsky, CH-53K King Stallion is the most modern, intelligent and powerful heavy-lift helicopter on the market.
The CH-53K is ramping up production with more than 30 aircraft in various stages of build and is on track for deployment in 2023/24. The CH-53K has achieved many milestones demonstrating its unique capabilities, including extensive fly-by-wire tests, initial sea trials and air-to-air refueling, as well as further exercises under operational conditions. Military aircrews and technicians are now training in preparation for initial operational testing this spring.