CH-53K King Stallion


The CH-53K will transport Marines, heavy equipment and supplies during ship-to-shore movement in support of amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore.


The CH-53K is the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E. The most powerful helicopter in the Department of Defense, the CH-53K is a new-build helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material, more rapidly throughout the area of responsibility using proven and mature technologies. There are four System Development Test Article CH-53K with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1). The squadron completed Initial Operational Test and Evaluation of the aircraft in 2022. There are 46 aircraft on contract, including four heavy lift helicopters for the government of Israel. Designed to lift nearly 14 tons (27,000 lbs/12,247 kg) at a mission radius of 110 nautical miles (203 km), in Navy high/hot environments, the CH-53K is capable of lifting almost triple the baseline CH-53E lift capability.  It is also designed to have a smaller shipboard footprint, lower operating costs per aircraft, and less direct maintenance man hours per flight hour. The CH-53K is currently on track to provide an initial operating capability in 2022 and deployment to the fleet in 2023-2024. The USMC’s procurement objective is 200 helicopters.


  • Supports the full range of military operations
  • Transports two “up-armored” HMMWV or a Light Armored Vehicle variant under Navy high/hot conditions
  • Cabin section is 12” wider, which can internally load 2 x 10,000lb AMC 463L pallets or 5 AMC 463L half-pallets or internally load an HMMWV
  • Next-generation joint interoperable CAAS “glass” cockpit
  • Fly-By-Wire flight controls add additional survivability, safety and maintenance improvements
  • Fourth-generation high-efficiency composite rotor blades with swept anhedral tips
  • Low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head


Aircraft Length: 99 ft. 0.5 in.
Aircraft Height: 28.4 ft.
Max Gross Weight: 88,000 lbs /39,916 kg (with external load)
Design Airspeed: 195.6 miles per hour (170 knots)
Ceiling: 9,520 ft. MSL (HIGE 88,000 lbs)
Propulsion: Three T408-GE-400 turboshaft engines rated at 7,332 SHP
Crew: Two pilots, 1-3 aircrewmen (mission dependent)
Contractor: Sikorsky Aircraft

Program Status

Production Phase: IOC, declared by USMC, April 2022

Updated June 2022