CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Aircraft profile

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Primary function: Transportation of heavy equipment and supplies during the ship-to-shore movement of an amphibious assault and during subsequent operations ashore.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: PACIFIC OCEAN (May 15, 2008) A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 165 lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5).CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: PACIFIC OCEAN (May 15, 2008) A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 165 lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5).

Mission

As the Marine Corps' heavy lift helicopter designed for the transportation of material and supplies, the CH-53E is compatible with most amphibious class ships and is carried routinely aboard LHA (Landing, Helicopter, Assault: an amphibious assault ship), LPH (Landing Platform, Helicopter: an amphibious assault ship) and now LHD (Landing, Helicopter, Dock: an amphibious assault ship) type ships.

The helicopter is capable of lifting 16 tons (14.5 metric tons) at sea level, transporting the load 50 nautical miles (57.5 miles) and returning. A typical load would be a 16,000 pound (7264 kilogram) M198 howitzer or a 26,000 pound (11,804 kilogram) Light Armored Vehicle. The aircraft also can retrieve downed aircraft including another CH-53E. The 53E is equipped with a refueling probe and can be refueled in flight giving the helicopter indefinite range.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Mediterranean Sea (Jan. 23, 2007) - A sailor aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), guides a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during a Carrier Qualification evolution. Marines and Saliors assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are on board Bataan as part of their current deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Freddy G. CantuCH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Mediterranean Sea (Jan. 23, 2007) - A sailor aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), guides a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during a Carrier Qualification evolution. Marines and Saliors assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are on board Bataan as part of their current deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Freddy G. Cantu

Features

The CH-53E is a follow-on for its predecessor, the CH-53D. Improvements include the addition of a third engine to give the aircraft the ability to lift the majority of the Fleet Marine Force's equipment, a dual point cargo hook system, improved main rotor blades, and composite tail rotor blades. A dual digital automatic flight control system and engine anti-ice system give the aircraft an all-weather capability. The helicopter seats 37 passengers in its normal configuration and has provisions to carry 55 passengers with centerline seats installed. With the dual point hook systems, it can carry external loads at increased airspeeds due to the stability achieved with the dual point system.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Right side front, aerial view of a US Marine CH-53E Super Stallion attempting an aerial refueling. Another CH-53E is seen in the background at the top of the frame. Both helicopters, call signs KNIGHT RIDER 22 & 23 are from HMH 164 working off the USS TRIPOLI (not shown). They are practicing aerial refueling with Raider 103, a US Marine KC-130 Hercules from VMGR 352, El Toro Marine Air Station, California (not shown). Only the fuel line and drag chute are seen from the KC-130 at the right side of the frame. This mission is in direct support of Operation Restore Hope.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Right side front, aerial view of a US Marine CH-53E Super Stallion attempting an aerial refueling. Another CH-53E is seen in the background at the top of the frame. Both helicopters, call signs KNIGHT RIDER 22 & 23 are from HMH 164 working off the USS TRIPOLI (not shown). They are practicing aerial refueling with Raider 103, a US Marine KC-130 Hercules from VMGR 352, El Toro Marine Air Station, California (not shown). Only the fuel line and drag chute are seen from the KC-130 at the right side of the frame. This mission is in direct support of Operation Restore Hope.

Background

Derived from an engineering change proposal to the twin-engine CH-53D helicopter, the CH-53E has consistently proven its worth to the Fleet commanders with its versatility and range. With four and one half hours' endurance, the Super Stallion can move more equipment over rugged terrain in bad weather and at night. During Operation Eastern Exit two CH-53Es launched from amphibious ships and flew 463 nautical miles (532.45 miles) at night, refueling twice enroute, to rescue American and foreign allies from the American Embassy in the civil war-torn capital of Mogadishu, Somalia in January of 1990. Two CH-53Es rescued Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady in Bosnia in June 1995.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: An LAV-25 light armored vehicle from Company A, 3rd Light Armored Vehicle Battalion, is picked up at Expeditionary Air Field by a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter for transport to the Lavic Lake training area.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: An LAV-25 light armored vehicle from Company A, 3rd Light Armored Vehicle Battalion, is picked up at Expeditionary Air Field by a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter for transport to the Lavic Lake training area.

General specifications

Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft

Power plant: Three General Electric T64-GE-416 turboshaft engines producing 4380 shaft horsepower each.

Length: 99 feet 5 inches (2.64 meters)
Height: 28 feet 4 inches (.81 meters)
Rotor diameter: 79 feet (24.07 meters)
Speed: 172.5 miles per hour (150 knots)
Maximum takeoff weight:

Internal load: 69,750 pounds (31,666 kilograms)
External load: 73,500 pounds (33,369 kilograms)

Range:

without refueling: 621 miles (540 nautical miles)
with aerial refueling: indefinite

Armament: Two XM-218 .50 caliber machineguns.
Crew: 3
Introduction date: June 1981
Unit Replacement Cost: $26,100,000

Source: USMC

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the USS PELELIU (LHA 5), during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ 2001.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the USS PELELIU (LHA 5), during Exercise KERNEL BLITZ 2001.

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion (Sikorsky S-80E), is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the United States military. Sailors commonly refer to the Super Stallion as the "Hurricane Maker" because of the downward thrust the helicopter generates. It was built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps. The less common MH-53E Sea Dragon fills the Navy's need for long range mine sweeping or Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) missions, and perform heavy-lift duties for the Navy.

Currently under development is the CH-53K, which will be equipped with three 6,000 shp-class turboshaft engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider cabin.

Development

Background

The CH-53 was the product of the U.S. Marines' "Heavy Helicopter Experimental" (HH(X)) competition begun in 1962. Sikorsky's S-65 was selected over Boeing Vertol's modified CH-47 Chinook version. The prototype YCH-53A first flew on 14 October 1964. The helicopter was designated "CH-53A Sea Stallion" and delivery of production helicopters began in 1966. The first CH-53As were powered by two General Electric T64-GE-6 turboshaft engines with 2,850 shp (2,125 kW) and had a max gross weight of 46,000 lb (20,865 kg) including 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) in payload.

Variants of the original CH-53A Sea Stallion include the RH-53A/D, HH-53B/C, CH-53D, CH-53G, and MH-53H/J/M. The RH-53A and RH-53D were used by the US Navy for mine sweeping. The CH-53D included a more powerful version of the General Electric T64 engine, used in all H-53 variants, and external fuel tanks. The CH-53G was a version of the CH-53D produced in West Germany for the German Army.

The US Air Force's HH-53B/C "Super Jolly Green Giant" were for special operations and combat rescue and were first deployed during the Vietnam War. The Air Force's MH-53H/J/M Pave Low helicopters were the last of the twin engined H-53s and were equipped with extensive avionics upgrades for all weather operation.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: The Arabian Gulf (Mar. 30, 2003) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The deck is loaded with CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters assigned to the “Condors” of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH 464). Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Angel Roman-Otero.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: The Arabian Gulf (Mar. 30, 2003) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The deck is loaded with CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters assigned to the “Condors” of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH 464). Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Angel Roman-Otero.

H-53E

In October 1967, the US Marine Corps issued a requirement for a helicopter with a lifting capacity 1.8 times that of the CH-53D that would fit on amphibious assault vessels. The US Navy and US Army were also seeking similar helicopters at the time. Before issue of the requirement Sikorsky had been working on an enhancement to the CH-53D, under the company designation "S-80", featuring a third turboshaft engine and a more powerful rotor system. Sikorsky proposed the S-80 design to the Marines in 1968. The Marines liked the idea since it promised to deliver a good solution quickly, and funded development of testbed machine for evaluation.

In 1970, against pressure by the US Defense Secretary to take the Army's helicopter design, the Navy and Marines were able show the Army's helicopter was too large to operate on landing ships and were allowed to pursue their helicopter. Prototype testing investigated the addition of a third engine and a larger rotor system with a seventh blade in the early 1970s. In 1974, the initial YCH-53E first flew.

Changes on the CH-53E also include a stronger transmission and a fuselage stretched 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m). The main rotor blades were changed to a titanium-fiberglass composite. The tail configuration was also changed. The low-mounted symmetrical horizontal tail was replaced by a larger vertical tail and the tail rotor tilted from the vertical to provide some lift in hover while counteracting the main rotor torque. Also added was a new automatic flight control system. The digital flight control system prevented the pilot from overstressing the aircraft.

YCH-53E testing showed that it could lift 17.8 tons (to a 50-foot wheel height), and without an external load, could reach 170 knots at a 56,000 pound gross weight. This led to two preproduction aircraft and a static test article being ordered. At this time the tail was redesigned to include a high-mounted, horizontal surface opposite the rotor with an inboard section perpendicular to the tail rotor then at the strut connection cants 20 degrees to horizontal.

The initial production contract was awarded in 1978, and service introduction followed in February 1981. The first production CH-53E flew in December 1980. The US Navy acquired the CH-53E in small numbers for shipboard resupply. The Marines and Navy acquired a total of 177.

The Navy requested a version of the CH-53E for the airborne mine countermeasures role, designated "MH-53E Sea Dragon". It has enlarged sponsons to provide substantially greater fuel storage and endurance. It also retained the in-flight refueling probe, and could be fitted with up to seven 300 US gallon (1,136 liter) ferry tanks internally. The MH-53E digital flight-control system includes features specifically designed to help tow minesweeping gear. The prototype MH-53E made its first flight on 23 December 1981. MH-53E was used by the Navy beginning in 1986. The MH-53E is capable of in-flight refueling and can be refueled at hover. The Navy obtained a total of 46 Sea Dragons and is converting the remaining RH-53Ds back to the transport role.

Additionally, a number of MH-53E helicopters have been exported to Japan as the S-80-M-1 for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

The base model CH-53E serves both the US Navy and Marines in the heavy lift transport role. It is capable of lifting heavy equipment including the eight-wheeled LAV-25 Light Armored Vehicle, the M198 155 mm Howitzer with ammunition and crew, and can recover all other Marine corps aircraft except for the KC-130.

CH-53K

The CH-53K is the Heavy Lift replacement helicopter being developed to supersede the CH-53E. Sikorsky just received $3.04 billion for the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) of the CH-53K aircraft, to include 4 SDD aircraft, 1 ground test vehicle, and associated program management and test support. Rockwell Collins has recently been selected by Sikorsky as the vendor for the avionics management system.

The CH-53K will use the General Electric GE38-1B engine. This engine beat out the Pratt and Whitney Canada PW150 and a derivative of the Rolls-Royce AE 1107C-Liberty that powers the V-22 Osprey. It will also be equipped with a new composite rotor blade system, with technology similar to that currently found on the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

There is need for a new Heavy Lift helicopter that can transport heavy payloads over longer distances. The CH-53K is expected to meet these requirements by increasing, and thus surpassing the radius-payload capability of the CH-53E by carrying nearly double the payload (27,000 pounds) over the same distance of 110 nm.

The CH-53K will keep virtually the same footprint as the CH-53E. The CH-53K's maximum gross weight will be 84,700 pounds, which is increased over the CH-53E's 73,500 pounds.

Sikorsky has announced its major subcontractors: Aurora Flight Sciences (main rotor pylon), EDO Corporation (tail rotor pylon and sponsons), GKN Aerospace (aft transition), Rockwell Collins (avionics management system), Sanmina-SCI Corporation (Intercommunications System), and Spirit AeroSystems (cockpit and cabin).

In 2007, the USMC increased its order of CH-53Ks from 156 to 227. Design

Although dimensionally similar, the three engine CH-53E Super Stallion or Sikorsky "S-80" is a much more powerful aircraft than the original Sikorsky "S-65" twin engined CH-53A Sea Stallion. The CH-53E also added a larger main rotor system with a seventh blade.

The CH-53E can transport up to 55 troops or 30,000 lb (13,610 kg) of cargo and can carry external slung loads up to 36,000 lb (16,330 kg). The Super Stallion has a cruise speed of 173 mph (278 km/h) and a range of 621 miles (1,000 km). The helicopter is fitted with a forward extendable in-flight refuelling probe and it can also hoist hose refuel from a surface ship while in hover mode. It can carry three machine guns: one at the starboard side crew door, one at the port window, just behind the copilot, and one at the tail ramp. The CH-53E also has chaff-flare dispensers.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: EAST CHINA SEA (Oct. 8, 2008) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Mario Teasley, from Charlotte, N.C., directs the take off of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. expeditionary strike group. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg Johnson/Released)CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: EAST CHINA SEA (Oct. 8, 2008) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Mario Teasley, from Charlotte, N.C., directs the take off of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. expeditionary strike group. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg Johnson/Released)

The MH-53E features enlarged side mounted fuel sponsons and is rigged for towing its mine sweeping "sled" from high above the dangerous naval mines. The Sea Dragon is equipped with mine countermeasures systems, including twin machine guns. Its digital flight-control system includes features specifically designed to help towing mine sweeping gear.

Upgrades to the CH-53E have included the Helicopter Night Vision System (HNVS), improved M3M GAU-21 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns, and AAQ-29A Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) imager.

The CH-53E and the MH-53E are the largest helicopters in the Western world, while the CH-53K now being developed will be even larger. They are third in the world to the Russian Mil Mi-26 and Mil Mi-12, which can lift more than 22 tons (20 tonnes) and 44 tons (40 tonnes), respectively.

Operational history

1980s

The Super Stallion variant first entered service with the creation of Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 464 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. Two more squadrons were created in Tustin, California over the next several years, the HMH-465 and HMH-466. In addition, one west coast training squadron, HMT-301, was given several Super Stallions. Since then, other Marine Heavy lift squadrons have retired their CH-53As and Ds, replacing them with Es.

The Marine Corps CH-53E saw its first shipboard deployment in 1983 when four CH-53E helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopters Squadron 464 (HMH-464) deployed aboard the USS Iwo Jima as part of Marine Amphibious Unit 24 (24th MAU). During this deployment Marines were sent ashore in Beirut Lebanon as peace keepers and established perimeters at and near the Beirut International Airport. On 23 October 1983 a terrorist truck bomb destroyed the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing nearly 240 service members as they slept. CH-53E helicopters from the 24th MAU provided critical combat support during this operation.

1990s

In 1991, several CH-53Es along with several CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters were sent to Mogadishu, Somalia to evacuate U.S. and foreign nationals from the U.S. embassy during the Somalian Civil War.

During Operation Desert Storm, MH-53E shipboard based Sea Dragons were used for mine clearing operations in the Persian Gulf off Kuwait.

On 2 June 1995, Captain Scott O'Grady an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot shot down over Bosnia, was rescued by two CH-53Es. 2000s

On 26 October 2001 3 CH-53Es aboard the USS Peleliu and 3 CH-53Es aboard USS Bataan flew 550 miles to secure the first land base in Afghanistan, Camp Rhino, with 1100 troops at its peak. This amphibious raid is the longest amphibious raid in history. The long range capability of the CH-53Es enabled Marines to establish a southern base in Afghanistan, putting the war on the ground.

Super Stallions again played a major role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They were critical to moving supplies and ammunition to the most forward Marine units and also assisted in moving casualties back to the rear for follow on care. Marine CH-53Es and CH-46Es carried US Army Rangers and Special Operations troops in a mission to rescue captured Army Private Jessica Lynch on 1 April 2003.

In the early morning hours of 26 January 2005 a CH-53E used in the transport of 30 Marines from the 1st Marine Division and 1 Navy Corpsman (sailor) for election purposes crashed in Rutbah, Iraq, killing all on board. A sandstorm has been determined as the cause of the accident. This incident was the main fatal event in the single bloodiest day for the U.S. military since an explosion ripped through a gun turret on the USS Iowa during a training exercise in the Caribbean in April 1989, killing 47 sailors.

The Sea Dragon is the Navy's helicopter that's most prone to accidents, with 27 deaths since 1984. Its rate of "serious mishaps" ($1 million damage or death) is 5.96 per 100,000 flight hours, more than twice the Navy helicopter average of 2.26.

Currently about 100 CH-53E helicopters are in service with the Marines and another 15 MH-53Es are in service with the U.S Navy.

Operators

Japan

* Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

United States

* United States Marine Corps
* United States Navy

Specifications (CH-53E)

Data from U.S. Navy history, Global Security, International DirectoryGeneral characteristics

* Crew: 5: 2 pilots, 1 crew chief/right gunner, 1 left gunner, 1 tail gunner (combat crew)
* Capacity: 37 troops (55 with centerline seats installed)
* Payload: 32,000 lb (15,000 kg)
* Length: 99 ft 1/2 in (30.2 m)
* Rotor diameter: 79 ft (24 m)
* Height: 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)
* Disc area: 4,900 ft² (460 m²)
* Empty weight: 33,226 lb (15,071 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 73,500 lb (33,300 kg)
* Powerplant: 3× General Electric T64-GE-416(A) turboshafts, 4,380 shp (3,270 kW) each
* Rotor systems: 7 blades on main rotor

Performance

* Maximum speed: 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h)
* Cruise speed: 150 kt (173 mph, 278 km/h)
* Range: 540 nmi (621 mi, 1,000 km)
* Ferry range: 990 nmi (1,139 mi, 1,833 km)
* Service ceiling 18,500 ft (5,640 m)
* Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (13 m/s)

Armament

* Guns:

o 2× .50 BMG (12.7 x 99 mm) window-mounted XM218 machine guns
o 1× .50 BMG (12.7 x 99 mm) ramp mounted weapons system, GAU-21 (M3M mounted machine gun)

* Other: Chaff and flare dispensers

More photos:

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A left side view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter taking on fuel from a Marine Refueler-Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) KC-130R Hercules aircraft during a flight out of Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A left side view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter taking on fuel from a Marine Refueler-Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) KC-130R Hercules aircraft during a flight out of Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A left front view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter taking on fuel from a Marine Refueler-Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) KC-130R Hercules aircraft during a flight out of Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A left front view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter taking on fuel from a Marine Refueler-Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) KC-130R Hercules aircraft during a flight out of Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A right side view of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter equipped with an AAR-46 Missile Warning Receiver, in flight near the Pacific Missile Test Center (PMTC), Point Mugu, California.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A right side view of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter equipped with an AAR-46 Missile Warning Receiver, in flight near the Pacific Missile Test Center (PMTC), Point Mugu, California.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A left side view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lifting an M198 155 mm howitzer from the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock USS AUSTIN (LPD 4). The AUSTIN is deployed off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon in support of the United States contingent of the multinational peacekeeping force.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A left side view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lifting an M198 155 mm howitzer from the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock USS AUSTIN (LPD 4). The AUSTIN is deployed off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon in support of the United States contingent of the multinational peacekeeping force.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A front view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter taking on fuel from a Marine Refueler-Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) KC-130R Hercules aircraft during a flight out of Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A front view of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter taking on fuel from a Marine Refueler-Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) KC-130R Hercules aircraft during a flight out of Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter airlifts an M-114 155mm howitzer during Exercise Ocean Venture '84.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter airlifts an M-114 155mm howitzer during Exercise Ocean Venture '84.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter approaches for a landing on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS GUAM (LPH-9) during flight operations off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter approaches for a landing on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS GUAM (LPH-9) during flight operations off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS GUAM (LPH-9) during flight operations off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS GUAM (LPH-9) during flight operations off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Marines move toward a CH-53E, Super Stallion helicopter at Camp Garcia during Operation OCEAN VENTURE '84. Another CH-53E is visible in the background.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Marines move toward a CH-53E, Super Stallion helicopter at Camp Garcia during Operation OCEAN VENTURE '84. Another CH-53E is visible in the background.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion, left, and a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter demonstrate their ability to carry artillery during an air show.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion, left, and a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter demonstrate their ability to carry artillery during an air show.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter approaches the landing area at the stern of the battleship USS IOWA (BB 61). The barrels of the ship's aft 16-inch gun turret are in the foreground.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter approaches the landing area at the stern of the battleship USS IOWA (BB 61). The barrels of the ship's aft 16-inch gun turret are in the foreground.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lands near a camouflaged M114 155 mm Howitzer during Exercise OCEAN VENTURE '84.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lands near a camouflaged M114 155 mm Howitzer during Exercise OCEAN VENTURE '84.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A right front view of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter parked at Camp Garcia and another CH-53E in flight in the background. The helicopters are being used during Operation OCEAN VENTURE '84.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A right front view of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter parked at Camp Garcia and another CH-53E in flight in the background. The helicopters are being used during Operation OCEAN VENTURE '84.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: An LAV-25 light armored vehicle from Company A, 3rd Light Armored Vehicle Battalion, is picked up at Expeditionary Air Field by a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter for transport to the Lavic Lake training area.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: An LAV-25 light armored vehicle from Company A, 3rd Light Armored Vehicle Battalion, is picked up at Expeditionary Air Field by a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter for transport to the Lavic Lake training area.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter takes off from the helicopter pad of the battleship USS IOWA (BB 61).CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter takes off from the helicopter pad of the battleship USS IOWA (BB 61).

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: North Atlantic Ocean. An aerial starboard beam view of the amphibious assault ship USS NASSAU (LHA 4) being escorted by four CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters flying in formation over the ship. The ship is participating in NATO Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING '86.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: North Atlantic Ocean. An aerial starboard beam view of the amphibious assault ship USS NASSAU (LHA 4) being escorted by four CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters flying in formation over the ship. The ship is participating in NATO Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING '86.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter carrying members of the Italian media lands on the helicopter pad of the battleship USS MISSOURI (BB 63). The ship is preparing for a port visit to Naples, Italy, during an around the world shakedown cruise. Note: First view in a series of three.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter carrying members of the Italian media lands on the helicopter pad of the battleship USS MISSOURI (BB 63). The ship is preparing for a port visit to Naples, Italy, during an around the world shakedown cruise. Note: First view in a series of three.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion and a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter are parked on the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS SAIPAN (LHA 2) during NATO Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING '86.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion and a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter are parked on the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS SAIPAN (LHA 2) during NATO Exercise NORTHERN WEDDING '86.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A silhouetted view of a flight deck crewman standing by in a tow tractor as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter hovers near his ship at sunrise.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A silhouetted view of a flight deck crewman standing by in a tow tractor as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter hovers near his ship at sunrise.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A silhouetted view of a flight deck crewman standing by in a tow tractor as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lands aboard his ship at sunrise.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A silhouetted view of a flight deck crewman standing by in a tow tractor as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lands aboard his ship at sunrise.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, foreground, and CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters participate in an amphibious assault training exercise. The aircraft are assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS NASSAU (LHA 4).CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, foreground, and CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters participate in an amphibious assault training exercise. The aircraft are assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS NASSAU (LHA 4).

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter kicks up dust as it comes in for a desert landing during the multinational, joint service Exercise BRIGHT STAR '87.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter kicks up dust as it comes in for a desert landing during the multinational, joint service Exercise BRIGHT STAR '87.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A silhouetted view of a Belknap Class Guided Missile Cruiser underway alongside the Amphibious Assault Ship USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10). A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is parked in the foreground.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A silhouetted view of a Belknap Class Guided Missile Cruiser underway alongside the Amphibious Assault Ship USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10). A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is parked in the foreground.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is refueled on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63).CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is refueled on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63).

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is refueled on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63).CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is refueled on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63).

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A right side view of a Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 12 (HM-12) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lifting a Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 16 (HM-16) RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter. The rotors have been removed from the RH-53D.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A right side view of a Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 12 (HM-12) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lifting a Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 16 (HM-16) RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter. The rotors have been removed from the RH-53D.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Flight deck crewmen perform a preflight inspection on a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter aboard the amphibious assault ship USS GUAM (LPH 9). A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is taking off in the background.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Flight deck crewmen perform a preflight inspection on a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter aboard the amphibious assault ship USS GUAM (LPH 9). A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is taking off in the background.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lifts an M998 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) from the deck of an amphibious ship during exercise Imminent Thunder, a readiness exercise conducted by forces operating in the Persian Gulf region in support of Operation Desert Shield.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lifts an M998 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) from the deck of an amphibious ship during exercise Imminent Thunder, a readiness exercise conducted by forces operating in the Persian Gulf region in support of Operation Desert Shield.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lowers an M-998 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle into a landing zone during Exercise Imminent Thunder, part of Operation Desert Shield.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lowers an M-998 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle into a landing zone during Exercise Imminent Thunder, part of Operation Desert Shield.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Six US Navy (USN) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters in echelon formation. (Substandard image)CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Six US Navy (USN) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters in echelon formation. (Substandard image)

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2 (HC-2) departs from the amphibious assault ship USS NEW ORLEANS (LPH-11). The NEW ORLEANS is serving as a platform for mine-clearing operations in the gulf following the cease-fire that ended Operation Desert Storm.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2 (HC-2) departs from the amphibious assault ship USS NEW ORLEANS (LPH-11). The NEW ORLEANS is serving as a platform for mine-clearing operations in the gulf following the cease-fire that ended Operation Desert Storm.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A plane captain prepares to conduct a final check on a Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter prior to making supply deliveries during Operation Provide Comfort.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A plane captain prepares to conduct a final check on a Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter prior to making supply deliveries during Operation Provide Comfort.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lowers a container down to the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) during a vertical replenishment. The ROOSEVELT is on station in the eastern Mediterranean to support Operation Provide Comfort, a multinational effort to aid Kurdish refugees in southern Turkey and northern Iraq.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: A Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter lowers a container down to the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) during a vertical replenishment. The ROOSEVELT is on station in the eastern Mediterranean to support Operation Provide Comfort, a multinational effort to aid Kurdish refugees in southern Turkey and northern Iraq.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, left, and a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter, right, fly overhead as an AAVP-7A1 amphibious assault vehicle, foreground, and a mechanized landing craft (LCM) assigned to the tank landing ship USS MANITOWOC (LST-1100) come ashore during an amphibious assault exercise. In the background, utility landing craft LCU-1653 brings Marines toward shore as an amphibious assault ship stands at anchor.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, left, and a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter, right, fly overhead as an AAVP-7A1 amphibious assault vehicle, foreground, and a mechanized landing craft (LCM) assigned to the tank landing ship USS MANITOWOC (LST-1100) come ashore during an amphibious assault exercise. In the background, utility landing craft LCU-1653 brings Marines toward shore as an amphibious assault ship stands at anchor.

CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Right side front, aerial view of a US Marine CH-53E Super Stallion attempting an aerial refueling. Another CH-53E is seen in the background at the top of the frame. Both helicopters, call signs KNIGHT RIDER 22 & 23 are from HMH 164 working off the USS TRIPOLI (not shown). They are practicing aerial refueling with Raider 103, a US Marine KC-130 Hercules from VMGR 352, El Toro Marine Air Station, California (not shown). Only the fuel line and drag chute are seen from the KC-130 at the right side of the frame. This mission is in direct support of Operation Restore Hope.CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter: Right side front, aerial view of a US Marine CH-53E Super Stallion attempting an aerial refueling. Another CH-53E is seen in the background at the top of the frame. Both helicopters, call signs KNIGHT RIDER 22 & 23 are from HMH 164 working off the USS TRIPOLI (not shown). They are practicing aerial refueling with Raider 103, a US Marine KC-130 Hercules from VMGR 352, El Toro Marine Air Station, California (not shown). Only the fuel line and drag chute are seen from the KC-130 at the right side of the frame. This mission is in direct support of Operation Restore Hope.

More photos: CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter photo gallery

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