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US Marine Corps has taken delivery of training device for CH-53K King Stallion helicopter


The H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters program office (PMA-261) took delivery of the first training device for the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter on April 14, 2020. The Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD) is housed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, Jacksonville, NC.


US Marine Corps has taken delivery of training device for CH 53K King Stallion helicopter 925 001 Marine pilot Lt.Col. Lucas “Amber” Frank takes the new CH-53K simulator, Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD), for a test drive. The Marine Corps took delivery of the CFTD in April. (Picture source U.S. DoD)


The CFTD, built by Lockheed Martin in partnership with Veraxx, provides realistic cockpit or system displays (i.e. visual resolution, tactile, spatial, audio, and functionality) and can simulate weather and tactical environments. It is also capable of connectivity with other simulators for Enhanced Attitude Control and other aircraft training scenarios.

“The CFTD is an amazingly capable training device,” said Colonel Jack Perrin, PMA-261 program manager. “It is a much less expensive practice than using operational equipment and provides near-aircraft fidelity into a state-of-the-art training simulator for the fleet.”

The CFTD is the first in a series of new training devices being developed for the CH-53K. All training devices will eventually be located at the Center for Naval Aviation Technology Training (CNATT) at MCAS New River, where all of the aircraft’s aircrew and maintenance maintainers will be trained. Delivery of two other CH-53K training devices - the Helicopter Emulation Maintenance Trainer and the Composite Maintenance Trainer are also expected this year.

The CH-53K is completing development tests, leading to Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2021. First fleet deployment of the aircraft will be in 2023/24. The simulation software continuously updates, so as the program team makes necessary modifications to the CH-53K into the future, the CFTD will also change.

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The design features three 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants. It will be the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military. The USMC plans to receive 200 helicopters at a total cost of $25 billion. Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) testing started in April 2014; flight testing began with the maiden flight on 27 October 2015. In May 2018 the first CH-53K was delivered to the Marine Corps.


US Marine Corps has taken delivery of training device for CH 53K King Stallion helicopter 925 002
A CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, left, flies over the Chesapeake Bay after successfully connecting with a funnel-shaped drogue towed behind a KC-130J tanker aircraft during aerial refueling wake testing. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)