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84+18 Sikorsky CH-53G c/n V65-016 - GermanAF - German Army HFWS - Wittmundhafen AFB in Germany - 4 August 2004 Fliegerhorst Wittmundhafen (ETNT)

The Sikorsky CH-53G Mittlerer Transporthubschrauber (MTH - Medium transportation helicopter) is a twin-engined, heavy-lift transport helicopter. The CH-53G (G=Germany) was a derivate of the CH-53D Sea Stallion series, built under license by VFW-Fokker in Speyer, Germany, in a Co-Production Program for the German Army (Heeresflieger). Development of the CH-53 helicopter started as the Sikorsky Model S-65. On 7 March 1962, the Bureau of Naval Weapons (BuWeps) issued a Request for Proposals for a ship based helicopter able to lift an 8,000 pounds (3630 kg) payload over a radius of 100 nm (185 km) at a speed of 150 knots (278 km/h). Its mission was ship-to-shore transport, downed aircraft recovery, personnel transport, and Medical Evacuation. Sikorsky proposed the S-65, a new heavy lift helicopter utilizing the main rotor, tail rotor and transmission system of the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane and the basic shape of the S-61R, which was developed in the same period. The S-65 was selected by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) under the designation CH-53A as its heavy assault helicopter and on 24 September 1962, Sikorsky was awarded a contract to design and develop a mock up, a static test airframe and two YCH-53A prototype helicopters. Fir purchase of the CH-53 was approved in June 1968 but due to budget constraints only 110 were ordered. Following the delivery in 1969 of two pre-production helicopters from Sikorsk, the production aircraft were licence built by VFW-Fokker at Speyer in Germany. The first German-built CH-53G Mittlerer Transporthubschrauber helicopter flew from Speyer on 11 October 1971 and was delivered to the Erprobungsstelle der Bundeswehr 61 flight test center at Manching on 1 December 1971. The CH-53G, with the internal Sikorsky designation S-65C-1, was powered by two 3.435 shp General Electric GE-T64-7 turboshaft engines. The aircraft had crew of four (2 pilots + 2 board mechanics) which crew is supplemented if necessary by 1 observer as well as 2 door gun operators. In the 9.15 mtr long; 2.25 mtr wide and 1.98 mtr high cabin, up to 36 soldiers or 5.5 tons of cargo, such as two Wiesel type air landing tanks, could be transported. As an external load, the transport helicopter could take more than seven tons on a load hook. The operating radius of the CH-53G was 175 km. In order to meet ever more demanding specifications, over time the CH-53G received modifications, from 1990 designed to improve its service life and operational capabilities. These involved three major upgrades: new missile warning and self-protection systems; provision for two external fuel tanks allowing range to be increased to 1800 km when carrying 36 armed soldiers or a 5.500 kg payload; and addition of a night vision goggles-compatible cockpit for night low-level flying capabilities. All operational CH-53Gs were upgraded by Eurocopter Germany by early 2001, resulting in updated GS/GE/GA variants. As a result of foreign military operations 20 CH-53G helicopters were converted to perform Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions. Version CH-53GS is equipped with modernized IFR equipment, additional exterior fuel tanks, low-flight night vision cockpit and NVG, partial ballistic protection, engine dust collectors, missile counter measure and self-defence armament. Additionally the original engines were replaced by the more powerful T64-100 engines. Since 2007 Eurocopter was under contract to retrofit a total of 40 helicopters to a CH-53GA version. This upgrade includes the repair and overhaul of the airframe to extend helicopters’ design life to 10,000 flight hours, replacement of the entire electrical system and implementation of a new mission and avionic system. The automatic flight control system of the CH-53GA as part of this modernisation campaign. By 2012/2013, the fleet of 82 helicopters had undergone a comprehensive upgrade program for extension of the life time. Due to these retrofit program the CH-53GA/GE/GS helicopters shall be in service until 2030 and fulfil the national as well as current and future NATO requirements.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Sikorsky CH-53G is H53.

In 1968, the Federal German government ordered 110 Sikorsky CH-53G Mittlerer Transporthubschrauber as replacement for the Vertol H-21C "Flying Banana" and Sikorsky H-34G helicopters in service with the West German Army Aviation (Bundeswehr / Heeresflieger). The first flight by a German CH-53G was made on 11 October 1971, followed in March 1973 by the delivery of the first machines to Heeresfliegerregiment (HFlgRgt, Army Aviation Corps Regiment) 35 in Mendig, and shortly afterwards to the newly formed HFlgRgt 15 based at Rheine-Bentlage and HFlgRgt 25 based at Laupheim. In November 1972, the VFW-Fokker built Sikorsky CH-53G s/n V65-016 was delivered as 84+18 to HFlgWaS - Heeresfliegerwaffenschule at Heeresflugplatz Bückeburg-Achum. Following the German reunification on 3 October 1990, the Federal West German Army was partially integrated into the Federal German Army; Sikorsky CH-53G 84+18 remained in service with HFlgWaS at Heeresflugplatz Bückeburg-Achum. On 1 January 2013, all German Army Aviation (Bundeswehr / Heeresflieger) CH-53Gs were transferred to the German Air Force and incorporated into Helicopter Wing 64, whereby Sikorsky CH-53G 84+18 remained in service with HFlgWaS at Heeresflugplatz Bückeburg-Achum until the helicopter was withdrawn from use in 2016. Its main cab was stored at Rheine Bentlage and in use as a cocktail bar during the TBK out celebration on 20 October 2017. The airframe was moved to the WTD 61 at Meppen for destruction.
On 4 August 2004, Sikorsky CH-53G 84+18 of the HFlgWaS - Heeresfliegerwaffenschule at Buckeburg was seen at Wittmundhafen Air Base near Wittmund in Germany.

page last updated: 08-01-2023
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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