ARLINGTON, Virginia – In a first for the Marine Corps, Marines from Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) conducted heavy lift and personnel carrier operations aboard CH-53K King Stallions over the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 19-21, Marine Corps headquarters said Dec. 3.
These exercises are a critical component of future Marine Corps force operations concepts, such as Forward Expeditionary Base Operations and Distributed Operations.
“We are delighted to continue to advance the vision of the Commander of the Future Force by partnering with the Navy and finding ways to optimize our operation and thrive in an environment of strategic competition,” said the Commander VMX -1, Colonel Byron Sullivan. “We remain the nation’s naval expeditionary force, ready to fight in any climate, any place, any time. ”
VMX-1, evaluating the ability of the King Stallion to meet program specifications for the evolution of heavy transport above the horizon, tested the ability of the King Stallion to carry a 27,000 pound light armored vehicle (LAV -25) of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) toward a shore landing zone. The evolution of troop transport assessed the King Stallion’s ability to move troops over the horizon to a shore location and return to the ship without supply, covering up to 220 nautical miles round trip.
Combat Logistics Battalion 24 and 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, provided personnel and equipment to assist the VMX-1 with their tests, and Sailors from USS Iwo Jima attended the VMX-1 with operations on board and in the cockpit.
The Marine Corps progresses through the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of CH-53Ks before sending them to the Fleet Marine Force. The pilots, maintainers and contractors of VMX-1, the squadron responsible for conducting operational tests and evaluating Marine Corps aviation platforms and systems, play an important role in the development of tactics, techniques and procedures for using the CH-53K. In addition, VMX-1 personnel will subject the aircraft to rigorous assessments to determine its suitability and effectiveness before arriving in the fleet.
“We have the most professional and competent people to maintain the aircraft and we also appreciate the blue-green team, which demonstrates their exceptional ability to operate in a harmonious manner,” said the operations officer of the VMX detachment. -1 CH-53K, Major Joshua Banks.