Is Production of the CH-53E Helicopter Warranted?
PSAD-78-27: Published: Mar 23, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 1978.
- Full Report:
The CH-53E helicopter is being developed to provide the Navy and Marine Corps with a shipboard compatible helicopter having twice the lift capability of its predecessors. Operationally and technically, the CH-53E has demonstrated the potential to be an effective aircraft. The Navy has restructured the program to overcome problems encountered during development.
Costs increased by $113.2 million or 14 percent from September 1976 to September 1977. The reduction from 70 to 49 aircraft increased program unit costs from $12.6 million to about $14.7 million, but total program costs decreased about $152 million to $777.7 million. Although recent tests have supported granting provisional approval for service use, they have revealed deficiences which need to be corrected and/or evaluated, including: (1) main rotor blade bonding and rain erosion problems; (2) power losses caused by exhaust gas reingestion; (3) a faulty torque indicating system; (4) low-frequency vibrations; (5) electrostatic discharge; and (6) downwash. Reliability and maintainability tests showed that the CH-53E exceeded four requirements and failed to meet two others. Although identified missions can use the CH-53E's greater lift capabilities, there are problems associated with several missions, and certain other conditions should be met or considered before a full-scale production decision is made.