Brig.-Gen.-Eyal-Grinboim-Israeli-Air-Force-chief-of-staff-along-with-his-staff-discuss-the-capabilities-of-the-CH-53K-prior-to-flying-on-the-aircraft.
Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim, Israeli Air Force chief of staff, along with his staff, discuss the capabilities of the CH-53K prior to flying on the aircraft.
Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim, Israeli Air Force chief of staff, along with his staff, discuss the capabilities of the CH-53K prior to flying on the aircraft.

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md.–Israeli Air Force (IAF) Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim visited Naval Air Station Patuxent River in February for a program update and flight on the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter.

Grinboim and his staff met with Maj. Gen. Gregory Masiello, program executive officer for air anti-submarine warfare, assault and special mission programs (PEO(A)). Masiello and Col. Jack Perrin, program manager, heavy lift program office (PMA-261), gave the IAF group an overview of the CH-53K program and a status update on current tests and production.

The visit included an opportunity to co-pilot the aircraft. U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Luke Frank, pilot and officer in charge of CH-53K detachment for Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), provided pre-flight safety instructions before leading the group in a flight. The flight demonstrated the power and capabilities of the CH-53K aircraft.

Lt. Col. Luke Frank, the officer in charge of CH-53K detachment for Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., escorts Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim, Israeli Air Force chief of staff, from the heavy lift hangar at NAS Patuxent River to a waiting CH-53K King Stallion.

Grinboim’s visit to the program office was the first since Israel’s decision last year to purchase the CH-53K. The IAF signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance on Dec. 30, 2021 with the U.S. government. The agreement is for purchase of 12 CH-53K aircraft with first deliveries planned in 2025.

As the long-range logistic support backbone for the U.S. Marine Corps, the CH-53K will support Israeli special operations programs first, as well as provide the Israeli Defense Forces with a platform that has the speed, safety and gross weight capability to support all of its missions, including troop and cargo transport, and search and rescue.

The CH-53K program is on track to achieve Initial Operational Capability in 2022. VMX-1 completed all initial operational test and evaluation scheduled events, including a real-world, non-test event recovering a 14,000 pound downed Navy H-60 from a 12,000 feet high zone in the mountains of Northern California. The CH-53K will transport Marines, heavy equipment and supplies during ship-to-shore movement in support of amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore.

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