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CH-53K helicopter assembly line opens at Sikorsky Florida facility
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. officially opened a new facility at its Florida Assembly and Flight Operations (FAFO) campus, establishing experimental assembly line operations for the new CH-53K heavy lift helicopter. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
The CH-53K helicopter Florida Assembly and Flight Operations facility consists of approximately 60,000 square feet of space. The building, originally the home of Pratt & Whitney-Rocketdyne, has been completely updated to create a modern assembly area. Overhead power and air dropdowns, new aircraft work stands, and overhead cranes have been installed to support aircraft final assembly and rotor head/quality control assembly operations.
The CH-53K helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E SUPER STALLION helicopter, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under "high hot" ambient conditions. The CH-53E helicopter is currently the largest, most powerful marinized helicopter in the world. It is deployed fromMarine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport personnel and equipment and to carry external (sling) cargo loads.
The CH-53K helicopter's maximum gross weight (MGW) with internal loads is 74,000 pounds compared to 69,750 pounds for the CH-53E aircraft. The CH-53K's MGW with external loads is 88,000 pounds as compared to 73,500 for the CH-53E helicopter.