Israel has officially chosen the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter from Sikorsky, now a division of Lockheed Martin, as the replacement for its existing CH-53 type, known in that country as Yasur. This makes the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, the first foreign military to commit to buying the CH-53K, which was developed for the U.S. Marine Corps.
“All details, including the number of helicopters requested, will be brought to the approval of the Ministerial Committee for Procurement as soon as possible,” Israel’s Defense Ministry told Reuters. The decision was also said to have been based on recommendations that the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kohavi, and the Defense Ministry Director General, Major General Amir Eshel, made to Gantz.
Despite delays and difficulties in development, which you can read more about in this past War Zone piece, the CH-53K is now in production for the Marine Corps. The King Stallion has a notably greater load-carrying capacity than the latest variants of the CH-47, though Boeing has been testing a version of the Chinook with the same powerful T408 engines found on the Sikorsky helicopter. Still, the Chinook has two engines while the King Stallion has three.
At the same time, the King Stallion is also significantly more expensive than the Chinook. The Pentagon 2021 Fiscal Year budget request pegged the King Stallion’s unit cost at around $125 million. Though the exact configuration of the Chinook variant that Boeing had offered to Israel is unclear, which was reportedly a hybrid of sorts between the MH-47G flown by the U.S. Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and the Canadian military’s CH-147F, the price of a standard new-build CH-47F version is around $42 million.
However, let’s see what the CH-47 Chinook has achieved: during the Iraq War, about 163 CH-47s were used. Currently, there are more than 1,000 CH-47 Chinooks produced and in service with the militaries of many countries: Argentina, Australia, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Netherlands, China, USA, …
It is honor to called the name “air monster”, begun to work in 1957 with its engine including two Lycoming T55 turboshaft engines, mounted on each side of the helicopter’s rear pylon and connected to the rotors by drive shafts. Initial models were fitted with engines rated at 2,200 hp (1,600 kW) each. The counter-rotating rotors eliminate the need for an antitorque vertical rotor, allowing all power to be used for lift and thrust. The ability to adjust lift in either rotor makes it less sensitive to changes in the center of gravity, important for the cargo lifting and dropping. While hovering over a specific location, a twin-rotor helicopter has increased stability over a single rotor when weight is added or removed, for example, when troops drop from or begin climbing up ropes to the aircraft, or when other cargo is dropped. If one engine fails, the other can drive both rotors.