Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, announced in early December that the U.S. Marines are now preparing to fly, maintain and sustain the Sikorsky CH-53K heavy lift helicopter. The CH-53K, powered by three GE Aviation T408 engines, has a suite of training devices and was recently declared Ready For Training.

In addition to a portable full-mission flight simulator, students will have access to a computer-based Helicopter Emulation Maintenance Trainer (HEMT), which familiarizes mechanics with the maintenance tasks in a virtual environment. The final training step is the Composite Maintenance Trainer (CMT), a full-scale mock-up of the CH-53K aircraft, including replicas of its three T408 engines. Training will begin at Marine Air Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

David Karcher, a Lockheed Martin senior specialist mechanic explained, “The benefit to a trainer like this is to create an environment that is somewhat realistic to a real aircraft but has safety in mind.”

GE’s T408 was designed with maintainability in mind. The engine is modular, with sealed oil sumps and an accessible gearbox for ease of field maintenance. It also had a rugged compressor with split casing and erosion coating to minimize engine removals and keep the CH-53K ready for a diverse set of mission demands.

This engine gives the CH-53K the power to carry a 27,000-pound external load over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in hot weather conditions, nearly triple the external load carrying capacity of current aircraft.

Photo and video courtesy of Sikorsky