The Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon: Minesweeping helicopter

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Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon

The Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon is a United States Navy aircraft which was produced by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. It has 3 engines, is 50 feet long, can travel up to 210 knots, It is the most powerful helicopter ever made outside of Russia. The S-80/H-53E has three engines each with 4 380 shp.

Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon

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It is known that out of the early versions, the CH-53A and more powerful CH-53D were transports for the US Marines Corps. All CH-53As were delivered with provisions for towed mine-sweeping equipment, but the US Navy decided that a dedicated mine-countermeasures version would need more power and additional modifications.Therefore, 15 CH-53As were converted to RH-53A minesweeping machines, with 3 925 hp T64-GE-413 turboshafts, and equipment for towing the EDO Mk 105 hydrofoil anti-mine sled.

The RH-53A is used to explore the possibility of this new mine sweep, which was previously only tried with engines with insufficient power. Equipped with drop tanks and, then in-flight refueling probes. the RH-53Ds were soon re-engined with 4 380 shp T64-GE-415 turboshafts.

The aircraft was delivered to the U.S. Navy from the summer of 1973 and about 19 remained in U.S. Navy service in early 2003, but was replaced by MH-53Es. Six RH-53Ds were delivered to the Imperial Iranian Navy.

The CH-53E was developed to meet a 1973 demand for enhanced heavy-lift transportation for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. From there was developed MH-53E Sea Dragon. This definitive MCM (mine handling) version has a very large side sponge for an additional 3785 liters of fuel, for extended sweeping missions with engines at sustained high power. The first prototype of the MH-53E made its initial flight on December 23, 1981 and about 44 remained operational in 2003.

The Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon was developed as a strategic military transport for use by the U. S. Navy. It is designed to perform a variety of missions including anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, and military recovery. The aircraft can carry up to 55 passengers and 17, 000 pounds (7700 kg) of cargo and is powered by six turboshaft engines.

Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon

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