The “Royal Stallion” of the USA against the “Flying Cow” from Russia. Who is beter?

The expert compared the new helicopter of the US Marine Corps Sikorsky CH-53K with the Russian Mi-26

The US Marine Corps has adopted the CH-53K King Stallion (“Royal Stallion”) helicopter. This is the largest single-rotor helicopter in the Pentagon’s arsenal. Military observer of the Newspaper.En” Mikhail Khodarenok compared the characteristics of the CH-53K with the Russian Mi-26.

The Deputy commander of the US Marine Corps for Aviation, Lieutenant General Mark Wise, said that the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter has reached the so-called “Initial operational readiness” (Initial operational capability, IOC). The combat vehicle was supplied to the 461st Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (Heavy Helicopter Squadron, HMH).

“My full confidence in the CH-53K’s ability to carry out amphibious and heavy cargo transportation tasks is due to the result of extremely successful development and operational tests,” General Wise said.

The president of Sikorsky Aircraft, Paul Lemmo, who oversaw most of the work on the creation of the CH-53K, said that the adoption of the King Stallion by the Marine Corps “opens a new page in the history of American military aviation.”

“Sikorsky Aircraft and our nationwide cooperation of co-executors on the CH-53K project, which includes dozens of small enterprises, strives to supply helicopters that can adapt to any future missions, and are also reliable, stable and relevant combat vehicles ready to work for many decades to come,” Lemmo said.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons/РИА “Новости”

In fiscal year 2024, the Marine Corps plans to deploy the first unit fully equipped with CH-53K helicopters. The advantages of the CH-53K helicopter include an improved glass cabin, electric control systems, 4th generation main rotor blades with a negative deviation of the main rotor blade profile in the end part, a powerful engine and high survival rate.

As part of the US Department of Defense program, the Marine Corps expects to receive 200 CH-53K helicopters, which will be distributed among 8 combatant, one training and one reserve squadrons.

With the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, you can compare the Soviet / Russian Mi-26, the heaviest in the world from the class of multi-purpose transport helicopters. For its size, the car received the unofficial name “Flying Cow”. The domestic helicopter is built, like the “American”, according to a single-rotor scheme with a tail rotor.

The Mi-26 is capable of carrying cargo weighing up to 20 tons (8 tons more than the CH-53K). The maximum speed of the “Flying Cow” is 270 km / h (CH-53K – 345 km / h), the flight range with the main tanks is 800 km (CH-53K – 865 km), the practical ceiling is 4.6 thousand m (CH-53K – 4.9 thousand m).


CH-53K 'King Stallion' Helicopter Delivered to US Marine Corps | SOFREP


The power plant of the Mi-26 helicopter consists of two D-136 turboshaft engines with a take-off capacity of 11400 hp and an auxiliary power plant (APU) TA-88 (located under the crew cabin on the left side and provides engine start and drive of electrical and hydraulic systems and air conditioning systems in the parking lot). The D-136 engines are mounted side by side on top of the fuselage in separate nacelles separated by a titanium fire barrier.

In turn, the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter is equipped with three General Electric GE38-1B turboshaft engines, each with 7,500 hp.

In the transport-amphibious variant, 82 paratroopers with weapons can be accommodated in the Mi-26 helicopter (the CH-53K takes only 55 paratroopers on board). In the sanitary version of the Mi-26 helicopter, it is possible to accommodate up to 60 stretchers with the wounded.

The price of a combat vehicle is of no small importance. Judging by open sources, the Mi-26 costs the domestic taxpayer no more than $ 25 million, and the King Stallion costs the Americans almost $90 million.

Thus, with a huge difference in price, the Mi-26, which was adopted in 1980, is generally comparable in characteristics to the “Royal Stallion”, and in terms of payload, which is a key parameter for military transport equipment, it seriously surpasses the American helicopter.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.


The USMC's New CH-53K King Stallion Is One Royally Expensive Helicopter


Biography of the author:

Mikhail Mikhailovich Khodarenok is a military columnist for the newspaper.Ru”, retired colonel.

He graduated from the Minsk Higher Engineering Anti-Aircraft Missile School (1976), the Military Air Defense Command Academy (1986).

Commander of the S-75 anti-aircraft missile division (1980-1983).

Deputy Commander of the anti-aircraft missile regiment (1986-1988).

Senior Officer of the General Staff of the Air Defense Forces (1988-1992).

Officer of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff (1992-2000).

Graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia (1998).

Columnist of “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” (2000-2003), editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Military-Industrial Courier” (2010-2015).

Mikhail Khodarenok


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