Sikorsky has successfully powered up the new engines and rotor head of the new CH-53K helicopter on its ground test vehicle (GTV) development airframe. Called ‘bare head light-off’ testing because it is conducted without rotor blades being attached to the head, the test validated the aircraft’s dynamic components.
“GTV main engines powered ‘on’ is a significant step for the CH-53K helicopter program,” Mike Torok, Sikorsky’s CH-53K program VP said. “Having independently tested the aircraft’s many components and subsystems, including electrical and avionics, hydraulics and flight controls, landing gear, propulsion, transmissions and rotors, now we have begun testing these critical functions as an entire system powered by the GTV aircraft’s three GE 7,500shp class engines.”
Essentially a scaled-up re-design of the CH-53E Super Stallion, the 40-tonne CH-53K will be able to carry triple the weight of the current CH-53E, and will be the largest helicopter in the US when it enters service with the USMC in 2018. The USMC has a requirement for up to 200 CH-53Ks to replace the CH-53E.