Eurocopter celebrates maiden flight of CH-53GA
The CH-53GA medium-lift military transport helicopter has successfully completed its maiden flight. The new version of the Heeresflieger workhorse was presented today at Eurocopter in Donauwörth.
Eurocopter test pilot Rene Nater and flight engineer Antoine Van Gent were at the controls during the first flight on 29 January. This first flight came just three years after the contract was awarded, and represents a major milestone for the CH-53GA program.
Thanks to the new upgrades, the helicopter’s service life has been extended to 2030. Training flights are slated for early 2011, with the first deliveries of the retrofitted helicopters later in the same year. The German Armed Forces will then be able to deploy the CH-53GA with its state-of-the-art equipment for international missions (e.g. Afghanistan).
The CH-53G is being retrofitted so that the helicopter can be deployed in a wide range of national and international missions. It features improved display and flight control systems via state-of-the-art digital avionics, a new automatic flight control systemAFCS/4-axis-autopilot) with automatic hovering, Integration of a modular mission equipment package including FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared), satellite communication system (SatCom) and a cutting-edge electronic warfare system (EWS) for self-defense and identification of threats.