The U.S. Marine Corps heavy lift helicopter, manufactured by Lockheed Martin‘s Sikorsky subsidiary, has been deployed to its first fleet exercise in Mountain Home, Idaho.
Marines assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 practiced external lifts with the CH-53K King Stallion, which was designed with increased lift capacity than its predecessor, the service branch said Thursday.
Staff Sgt. James Ganieany, airframes division chief for HMH-461, said the squadron has been training with the CH-53K since it conducted its first operational flight for the heavy-lift military helicopter in April.
The Marine Corps declared initial operational capability for the CH-53K program in April, paving the way for a full-rate production decision in 2023.
Lockheed said the service branch plans to buy as many as 200 CH-53Ks through the “Approved Acquisition Objective.”