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Aviation Warfare
Seadragon MH35e photo

Sea Dragon MH-53E

Sea Dragons are used primarily for Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM), with secondary missions of vertical shipboard delivery and assault support. But, they can also pick up the slack for Seahawks when it comes to other roles such as assault support. Sea Dragons can deliver up to 55 personnel to a landing zone or carry heavy loads: up to 16 tons for 50 nautical miles or 10 tons for 500 nautical miles.

Background

The MH-53E was derived from the CH-53E Super Stallion and is heavier and has a greater fuel capacity than its ancestor. The MH-53 can operate from carriers and other warships and is capable of towing a variety of mine hunting/sweeping countermeasures systems, including the Mk 105 magnetic minesweeping sled, the AQS-14A side-scan sonar, and the Mk 103 mechanical minesweeping system. When performing the assault support mission, the MH-53E can be fitted with the GAU-21 .50-cal. machine gun ramp-mounted weapon system.

General Characteristics

Contractor: Sikorsky Aircraft Division of United Technologies Corp.
Date Deployed: First flight: Dec 23, 1981; Operational: June 1986.
Propulsion: Three General Electric T64-GE-419 turboshaft engines (4,750 shaft horsepower each).
Length: Fuselage: 73 feet, 4 inches (22 meters); Overall: 99 feet 0.5 inches (30.2 meters).
Height: 28 feet 4 inches (8.6 meters).
Rotor Diameter: 79 feet (24.1 meters).
Weight: Max. Gross weight, w/ external load: 69,750 lbs (31,693 kg)
Max. Gross weight, w/internal load: 69,750 lb (31,693 kg)
Empty weight: 36,745 lb (16,667 kg)
Airspeed: Max: 150 knots (278 km/hour).
Ceiling: 10,000 feet.
Range: Max: 1050 nautical miles.
Crew: Two pilots, one aircrewman.
Load: 55 troops or 32,000 pounds (14,512 kg) cargo.

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