A new CH-53K King Stallion training hangar opened in preparation for the new aircraft, slated to arrive in the near future, on Marine Corps Air Station New River, Oct. 8. The hangar will be used by the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) and will provide the most up-to-date training for maintainers. 

“This is the first sign that we are actually moving forward with the program of the CH-53K,” said Col. Curtis Ebitz, commanding officer of MCAS New River. “This allows the maintainers to get hands on with the aircraft prior to the pilots training out in the fleet.”

According to Lt. Col. William Slack, commanding officer of CNATT, the training will be different from the course of instruction students currently receive. The biggest difference will be the Helicopter Emulation Training Device. This device will provide state-of-the-art training through interactive tools to help Marines learn to remove and replace components without physically going out to the aircraft. Other differences include 3D parts as well as real CH-53K parts. This will help Marines troubleshoot problems and fix them before they arise.

“As new developments occur, as with any aircraft, we will work them into the aircraft training with computer-based training and through the state-of-the-art maintenance trainer,” Ebitz said. “This will allow the Marines to get truly hands-on training.” 

The students will receive hands-on training through the introduction of the Practical Job Trainer, which will include an actual CH-53K King Stallion. The trainer will allow the Marines to familiarize themselves with the basics of the helicopter, learn aircraft component locations and perform operational checks. 

“The CH-53K is a complete redesign. (The new design) improves its reliability, maintainability and survivability, while reducing the total ownership costs,” Slack said. “It increases the payload of the external carrying capacity to 27,000 pounds, which is three times the payload of its predecessor.”

The CH-53K transition will begin at 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing over the next couple of years with a slow integration into the fleet with an expected completion in FY30.