The CH-53K King Stallion “aced” an air-to-air refuelling test this week, successfully demonstrating long-range logistics support capabilities say the U.S. Marine Corps.

The 4.5 hour test was accomplished over the Chesapeake Bay with a KC-130J aerial refuelling tanker.

“The aircraft went to the tanker this week and it was very successful, proving it is a long-range vertical logistic workhorse,” said Col. Jack Perrin, H-53 heavy lift helicopters (PMA-261) program manager, in a news release.

According to the CH-53K test team, the wake survey test assessed the performance of the aircraft when flying behind the tanker in strong, turbulent air.

The aircraft’s crew successfully plugged the drogue, a funnel shaped basket towed behind the KC-130J. These tests were performed at increasing closure rates to ensure the CH-53K can handle the forces on the refueling probe when contacting the drogue during aerial refuelling.

The CH-53K King Stallion should see its first fleet deployment in 2023-2024.

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