Sunday, July 13, 2014

F-35 News. CH-53K delayed first flight

I just realized something from this screen capture I got from the Sikorsky vid.  Do they single hook howitzers anymore?  That thing starts spinning and suddenly you have an expensive lawndart!
CH-53K first flight delayed.

Via Reuters...
(Reuters) - The first flight of the U.S. Marine Corp's new CH-53K heavy lift helicopter will likely be delayed until the first half of next year, instead of occurring by the end of this year as planned, the head of Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, told Reuters on Sunday.
Sikorsky Aircraft President Mick Maurer said the delay was due to challenges in getting design changes to the transmission system and gear box into production since those parts take a long time to produce. (Editors note.  Really Sikorsky?  Seriously?  Are you guys really trying to feed us this bullshit??????)
He said he did not expect the delay in the first flight to affect the overall program.
"From a design standpoint, we're in great shape," Maurer said in an interview on the eve of the Farnborough air show. "It's just a question of getting it produced."
"First flight is a high visibility milestone, but in the whole scheme of things it's not as important as actually getting the testing done, and we're doing that."

I smell bullshit.  Sikorsky is a "can do" company.  This is the biggest project they have going right now and the CH-53K has gained interest from Israel and Germany.

If the USMC didn't ask for a delay then you can bet that the CEO of Sikorsky would be at workshop grinding on the necessary parts himself to meet the end of the year flight deadline.


  1. This has HQMC all over it. Silkorsky doesnt not meet timelines because of "Fabrication" problems. they rebuilit the CH-53J way ahead of schedule.

    1. A rebuild is a lot easier then a new from scratch design. And the MH-53J was basically the RH-53D power train, new avionic for the USAF, and old CH/HH-53A/B/C's. A few of the C's were ex USMC birds freed up by the introduction of the 53E.

      I suspect that Sikorsky found some unexpected issues on the power on testing. They may have had to tweak the design of the main gear and/or another larger gear/s. These are CNCed from large billets and you cannot just order them in. This is why "long lead" parts are funded 24 month before an aircraft is ordered.

  2. According to the most recent SAR, Dec 2012, the program has already slipped a few years which is too bad because the Corps needs these birds to replace worn-out ones.

    On average, existing CH-53E aircraft are more than 15 years old, have over 3,000 flight hours under tough conditions, and are becoming more and more of a maintenance challenge with a 44:1 maintenance man-hours:flight hours ratio. Not to mention the resulting $20,000 per flight-hour cost ratio. (DefenseIndustryDaily).

    The external payload on the new Stallion has been reduced 3,000 pounds. Interesting that this sister unit of Pratt & Whitney is using three GE engines in the latest Stallion. They're using an innovative split-torque transmission to transmit power, 22,000 hp (a lot), from the three engines to the 35-foot rotor.

    IOC was Sep 2015 and is now Jan 2019.

    1. The USMC chose the power plant not Sikorski. I think you will find the a member of congress may have pulled the strings. The PW150 would have fit the bill nicely, no need to pay R&D of a new power plant, however the customer chose a paper GE38. The US taxpayers pay the R&D and GE has a new powerplant for the next generation of larger Turboprop power aircraft.

  3. Why would the Marine Corps want a delay in this program ?


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