Air Transportation: The Immortal CH-53

Archives

June 27, 2009: First Israel, and now Germany are upgrading their CH-53 heavy transport helicopters. Germany will spend several million dollars refurbishing and upgrading each of its 82 CH-53s. Most will have their airframes refurbished to increase service life from 6,000 to 10,000 flight hours. In addition, 26 of the German CH-53s will be modified to use sensors that enable it to find things on the ground. Similar Israeli refurbs to their 38 CH-53s, will enable them to last until 2025, and be much better protected from small missiles.

The 20 ton CH-53 entered service in the mid-1960s, and the first one entered Israeli service in 1968. Germany began receiving its CH-53s in the early 1970s. The CH-53 has a max speed of 290 kilometers an hour, and can stay in the air for over three hours per sortie. It can carry 35 passengers, or 3.5 tons of cargo (including artillery slung beneath). Israel considered replacing the CH-53s with the CV-22, but the longer range, and higher speed, of the tilt-rotor aircraft was not a plus. The CH-53 could still haul more people and cargo.

The current refurb includes a nearly complete upgrade or replacement of all the electronics. This will make the helicopter more reliable, cheaper to maintain and easier to fly. With rebuilding and careful maintenance, these helicopters can be kept in the air indefinitely. While Israel will continue to use their CH-53s mostly inside Israel, Germany expects to be using theirs for peacekeeping and humanitarian missions overseas.

 

 


Article Archive

Air Transportation: Current 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close