On Wednesday, March 31, the U.S. Marines shared an exciting video of two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters carrying out a mid-air refueling and heavy lifting drill. Not only were the big helicopters refueling, they were doing so while carrying two heavy Humvees each.
The two helicopters are assigned to the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1), as the release stated, and the training exercise is part of a Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2-21.
The point of the seven-week training event is to give "standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualification to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assistance in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactic," the release reads.
This particular training took place near Yuma, in Arizona.
The CH-53E Super Stallion's capabilities
It's the predecessor of the current CH-53K King Stallion helicopters, and has been designed to be low-maintenance, reliable, and survivable in some of the most remote and unwelcoming operating bases.
It's been the U.S. Marines' primary heavy-lift helicopter for around 30 years, Military.com states, and there are currently 152 of these choppers in operation, though they are currently out of production. Specifications state that they can operate up to 2025, and require a Service Life Extension Program, per Military.com.
The CH-53E comes with all the trimmings, including GPS, doppler radar, FLIR, and ANVIS-HUD sensors, and carries 7.62mm and .50 caliber guns.
Not only that, the Super Stallions can carry a 13-ton Light Armored Vehicle, 16 tons of cargo for 50 miles (80 km) and back again, and transport enough Marines to lead an assault or humanitarian assistance, writes Military.com.
To prove its impressiveness, the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is powerful enough to lift every aircraft the Marines use, with the exception of the KC-130.
And even though it's built for some pretty heavy lifting, the CH-53E is also capable of flying quickly and agilely. An all-around achiever, perhaps?
This latest training exercise just adds proof of the helicopter's impressive capabilities, and if anything, makes for some great viewing.