It has been said that logistics wins wars. If that is true the USMC is going to be pretty tough to beat.
This photo shows a CH-53E Super Stallion sling loading a HUMVEE while aerial refueling from a KC-130T Hercules during a recent Weapons Tactics Instructor exercise out of MCAS Yuma, Arizona.
This is no dog and pony show, even for the giant and super maneuverable CH-53 family of choppers, sling-loading outsized cargo drastically reduces a helicopter’s range. This is especially the case when that helicopter has three thirsty T64 gas turbine engines pumping out a combined 13,140 horsepower. Thus practicing aerial refueling under sling-load conditions is essential.
The CH-53E Super Stallion can sling-load up to 32,000 pounds, which is pretty amazing, but its upcoming replacement, the CH-53K King Stallion can carry sling-loaded cargo over much greater distances un-refueled. For instance, it can carry double the CH-53E’s payload, or 27,500 pounds, over the same 110 mile radius. Additionally, its 22,500 horsepower allows for a maximum under-slung load capacity of 35,000 pounds. You can read all about the King Stallion here.
Although carrying a single Hummer is pretty impressive, this shot of a pair of CH-53Es carrying a pair of Hummers each while refueling behind a MC-130P Combat Shadow, takes the cake when it comes to wow-factor:
Image credits: USMC/DOD