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CH-53A Sea Stallion

The CH-53A provided timely and effective helicopter combat assault transport of heavy equipment, personnel and supplies, in order to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and other units, as directed.

Aircraft Details
& Specifications

Mission: Combat assault transport

Model Service Dates: 1967-2012

Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft

Bureau Number: 153304



Length: 44 ft, 10 in 

Fuselage Width: 7 ft, 3 in


Rotor diameter: 51 ft 

Height: 16 ft, 9 in 


Max Speed: 1144 kts (166 mph) 

Initial rate of climb: 11,715 ft/min


Ceiling: 17,000 ft 

Range: 550 nm (633 mi) 

Powerplant: 2 × T-64-GB-6

Thrust: 2, 270 shp


Two door mounted .50 BMG GAU-15/A machine guns. Some have a ramp mounted .50 BMG GAU-21 machine gun.

German CH-53Gs can mount two 7.62×51mm MG3 machine guns in the side doors, which are to be replaced by two .50 BMG M3M/GAU-21 machines guns in the doors and one on the ramp.


38 combat-equipped troops 

Internal Cargo: 

Cargo Hook:  

Crew: 2 pilots, 1 or more loadmasters / crewmen

Ordered in August 1962 for service with the Marine Corps, the CH-53 "Sea Stallion" was the largest of all Sikorsky helicopters at the time of development with a huge load carrying capability in a fuselage comparable to conventional fixed-wing designs. Equipped with rear loading doors and controlled winches at the forward end of the hold, the CH-53 could successfully transport either a one and a half ton truck and trailer, a Hawk missile system, an Honest John missile and trailer, or a 105 mm howitzer. Later versions had folding main and tail rotors for shipboard operations. The first of 139 "A" models was flown on 4 October 1964.

The first CH-53As were sent to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 (HMH-463) at MCAS
Santa Ana, CA, and deployed to Vietnam in 1966 as a four aircraft detachment. During that time, four more squadrons stood up with the "A*. The next development of the Marine H-53 would be based on the U.S. Air Force HH-53C with higher rated engines and an improved transmission. HMH-363 started to take delivery of the new "D" model in early 1969. Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 302 (HMT-302) retired the last "A" at MCAS Tustin in 1992.

CH-53A Bureau Number 153304 was the seventy fifth Sea Stallion built by Sikorsky Aircraft.
It was accepted by the Marine Corps on January 31, 1967 and delivered to the "Flying Tigers" of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 (HMM-361) at MCAS New River, NC. Once HMM-361 finished its transition from the UH-34D to the CH-53A they were deployed back to Vietnam with Marine Aircraft Group 36 at Phu Bai Combat Base in 1969. They returned stateside in 1970 and relocated to MCAS Santa Ana, CA. For the next two decades this aircraft served at various times with HMH-361, HMH-363, HMH-462, and HIMT-301 at the now named MCAS Tustin, CA. It was preserved at Tustin then came to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS El Toro. This aircraft is on loan from.the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

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