Sikorsky to install data storage and electronic warfare (EW) avionics aboard Marine Corps CH-53K helicopters

Sept. 8, 2021
The CH-53K King Stallion is a large cargo helicopter designed to move Marines and their equipment from ships offshore onto attack beaches.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Helicopter avionics experts at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. will perform systems engineering necessary to install data storage and electronic warfare (EW) systems to upgrade the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter under terms of a $11.9 million order announced Tuesday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin company in Stratford, Conn., to provide investigations, systems engineering support, risk analysis, and integration development to install the CH-53K data transfer unit and defensive electronic countermeasure system.

These systems are for avionics upgrades to CH-53K production aircraft. The CH-53K King Stallion is a large cargo helicopter designed to replace the Marine Corps fleet of CH-53E heavy-lift helicopters to help move Marines and their equipment from ships offshore onto attack beaches. The CH-53K is a general redesign of the CH-53E.

Two years ago the Navy awarded a $1.13 billion order to Sikorsky to build 12 new CH-53K helicopters and integrated avionics for the Marine Corps. These helicopters are part of 200 planned for the Marines.

Related: Enabling technologies for airborne electronic warfare

The CH-53K will receive the DTU-7100 data transfer unit from Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The new data storage unit transfers files to and from the helicopter, and enables flight and ground crew to record and play back the video and audio using industry-standard MPEG-2.

In addition, the unit has the computing power and speed to serve digital moving map data directly from its compact flash memory cards, which eliminates the need for storage elsewhere in the system, Collins Aerospace officials say.

The DTU-7100 data transfer unit is designed for harsh environments; measures 2.25 inches high by 6.9 inches deep; supports analog audio and video I/O; has four compact flash slots; a USB 2.0 port for file transfer; two 10/100/1000 Base T Ethernet ports; two 10/100 Base T Ethernet ports; one selectable RS-422 or RS-232 serial port; compact flash purge; power-up/initiated/continuous built in test; and no cooling required.

The CH-53K's defensive electronic countermeasure system is from the Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems segment in Rolling Meadows, Ill.

Related: Navy picks Jopana to provide airborne electronic warfare (EW; embedded computing and data storage from GMS

The EW system integrates the AN/AAQ-24 Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures Systems Processor Replacement with the Advanced Threat Warning Missile Warning Sensors; the AN/APR-39D(V)2 Radar Warning Receiver System; replaces the AN/ALE-47(V) Countermeasures Dispensing System with the Power PC Processor Upgrade and the Avionics Management System.

On this order Sikorsky will do the work at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.; Stratford, Conn.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Fort Worth, Texas; and Vergennes, Vt., and should be finished by June 2024.

For more information contact Sikorsky Aircraft online at; Collins Aerospace at; Northrop Grumman Mission Systems at; or Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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