The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter. The design features three 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) General Electric engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants. It is able to fly 20 knots (23 mph) faster than its CH-53E predecessor and carry 30% more with a maximum payload of 35,000 pounds. It is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military.
In 2009, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) said it would evaluate the new variant after it flies. In August 2015, it formalized a requirement for the CH-53K, listing the type as a “very high priority” item to enable the service to perform missions only the platform is capable of. Israel’s current CH-53 “Yasur” fleet is to remain operational until 2025.
The CH-53K competed with the Boeing CH-47F Chinook for an order of approximately 20 helicopters. In February 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced it wanted the CH-53Ks and the State Department approved the sale of 18 helicopters to Israel for $3.4 billion in August 2021.
Photo: Cpl. Hailey Clay, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.