The most powerful helicopter just made its grand debut at the ILA Berlin Air Show in Berlin last month. It’s now waiting for the first delivery at the new River Air Station in North Carolina. It’s expected to be there in May. How powerful would that be? The new helicopter is strong enough to lift a total weight of 36,000 pounds. It can also move 27,000 pounds for around 110 nautical miles. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that the vertical lift capability has tripled that of the previous model.
With all these advantages, it easily takes the crown as the most powerful helicopter for the Defense Department. However, it will go through more testing. Several sources report that it won’t be operation until next year. Although the CH-53K is hailed as a powerful aircraft, many people still criticize its high costs. $7.1 billion has been spent on development. That’s small compared to the acquisition cost of over $27 billion. It’s around $144 million apiece now, a slight increase from the previous $138.5 million.
The thing is, the costs can still grow especially after it was tested last summer. Naval Air Systems Command recently revealed that it holds a production contract for 2 units for $303.97 million. This mean each unit will cost around $152 million. The budget will be used for logistics support and other equipment. There’s no denying that the helicopter is expensive, but many think that it’s value for money.
Judging by the capabilities mentioned earlier, it would be such a powerful lifter. The haul is estimated at around 27,000 pounds, which puts it ahead of the Pentagon’s heavy-lift workhorse. All in all, this is likely to turn out to be a great investment. Some other projects may be expensive, but the results don’t come close. This one would at least be reliable despite the exorbitant price. They’re also working on various issues, like airspeed indication anomalies, rotor, etc.