Sometimes you have to be more than super to be No. 1. For four decades, Sikorsky’s CH-53E Super Stallion ruled the American sky as the nation’s largest and most powerful helicopter. But the next-generation version of the chopper, the CH-53K King Stallion, is now chomping at the bit.
Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Aircraft unit is building the new helicopter for the U.S. Marines. Today, GE Aviation took the wraps off a brand-new engine that will allow the King Stallion to claim the top spot.
GE spent nine years developing the new GE38 engine. It will allow the CH-53K to carry as much as 27,000 pounds of external load — some 27 real-life stallions — over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in hot-weather conditions, nearly triple what its predecessor could manage. At 7,500 horsepower, the new engine will provide 57 percent more power and use 18 percent less fuel, compared to the engines used by the Super Stallion. The new engine also has 63 percent fewer parts, making maintenance easier.
GE has so far produced five factory test engines. They have completed two flight tests and spent 5,000 hours on the test stand. Two of the engines will be “consumed by live fire testing performed by the U.S. government,” GE says. Ouch.
Read the full article on GE Reports.