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Sikorsky H-53 Sea Stallion

Heavy-lift transport helicopter

H-53 Sea Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter

The Sikorsky H-53 Sea Stallion heavy-lift transport should remain in active service until 2025

Entered service 1968
Crew 2 - 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 20.47 m
Main rotor diameter 22.02 m
Height 7.6 m
Weight (empty) 10.6 t
Weight (maximum take off) 19 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x General Electric T64-GE-7A turboshafts
Engine power 2 x 3 936 hp
Maximum speed 315 km/h
Service ceiling 6.2 km
Range 868 km
Endurance 5 hours
Maximum payload 9 t
Typical load 37 troops
Machine guns provision for 1 x 12.7-mm MG and 2 x 7.62-mm Miniguns


   The Sikorsky S-65/H-53 Sea Stallion was designed to meet a USMC requirement for a heavy-lift troop transport helicopter. The twin-engined CH-53D has been in service since 1968 and currently equips four heavylift units. The CH-53D can carry 37 troops or 3.6 -5.4 t of cargo.

   The three-engined CH-53E Super Stallion equips six USMC units and can transport 55 troops or 16 tons of cargo internally; it can can carry the 11 794-kg Light Armored Vehicle externally. It is armed with two 7.62-mm machine-guns for self-defense, and can be refuelled in flight from a KC-130. The CH-53E is expected to remain in service until 2025, the USMC plans a two-phase service-life extension programme that will comprise an airframe overhaul followed by an avionics upgrade with new cockpit systems compatible for night operations.

   The US Navy operates a derivative of in the mine countermeasures (MCM) role. The three-engined MH-53E Sea Dragons tows a variety of MCM and side-scan sonars and equips two joint active/reserve HM squadrons, plus an HC squadron in the vertical onboard delivery role.

   The USAF has operated a variety of twin-engined MH-53 variants in the combat search and rescue and special operations roles. The current MH-53J Pave Low III variant is comprehensively equipped for low-level night/all-weather insertion of special forces troops in a hostile air defense environment.

   The major non-US S-65 operator is the Heeresflieger (German army) with around 96 license-built CH-53Gs. These are receiving three major upgrades: new missile warning and self-protection systems; provision for two external fuel tanks allowing range to be increased to 1 800 km when carrying 36 armed soldiers or a 5 500-kg payload; and addition of an night vision goggles-compatible cockpit for night low-level flying capabilities. All CH-53Gs had been upgraded by Eurocopter Germany by early 2001.

   Other lesser operators are Israeli air force which has two squadrons of upgraded CH-53D Yasur-2000 transports and the Iranian navy which operates five former MCM-tasked RH-53Ds as logistical transports.


Video of the H-53 Sea Stallion transport helicopter

H-53 Sea Stallion helicopter

H-53 Sea Stallion helicopter

CH-53G helicopter

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