CH-53E Super Stallion Helicopter
Primary function: Transportation of heavy equipment and supplies during the ship-to-shore movement of an amphibious assault and during subsequent operations ashore.
Manufacturer: Sikorsky Aircraft
Power plant: Three General Electric T64-GE-416 turboshaft engines producing 4380 shaft horsepower each.
Length: 99 feet 5 inches (2.64 meters)
Height: 28 feet 4 inches (.81 meters)
Rotor diameter: 79 feet (24.07 meters) 
Speed: 172.5 miles per hour (150 knots)
Maximum takeoff weight: 
   Internal load: 69,750 pounds (31,666 kilograms)
   External load: 73,500 pounds (33,369 kilograms)
   without refueling: 621 miles (540 nautical miles)
   with aerial refueling: indefinite
Armament: Two XM-218 .50 caliber machineguns.
Crew: 3
Introduction date: June 1981
Unit Replacement Cost: $26,100,000 
The CH-53E is a follow-on for its predecessor, the CH-53D. Improvements include the addition of a third engine to give the aircraft the ability to lift the majority of the Fleet Marine Force's equipment, a dual point cargo hook system, improved main rotor blades, and composite tail rotor blades. A dual digital automatic flight control system and engine anti-ice system give the aircraft an all-weather capability. The helicopter seats 37 passengers in its normal configuration and has provisions to carry 55 passengers with centerline seats installed. With the dual point hook systems, it can carry external loads at increased airspeeds due to the stability achieved with the dual point system. 
As the Marine Corps' heavy lift helicopter designed for the transportation of material and supplies, the CH-53E is compatible with most amphibious class ships and is carried routinely aboard LHA (Landing, Helicopter, Assault: an amphibious assault ship), LPH (Landing Platform, Helicopter: an amphibious assault ship) and now LHD (Landing, Helicopter, Dock: an amphibious assault ship) type ships. The helicopter is capable of lifting 16 tons (14.5 metric tons) at sea level, transporting the load 50 nautical miles (57.5 miles) and returning. A typical load would be a 16,000 pound (7264 kilogram) M198 howitzer or a 26,000 pound (11,804 kilogram) Light Armored Vehicle. The aircraft also can retrieve downed aircraft including another CH-53E. The 53E is equipped with a refueling probe and can be refueled in flight giving the helicopter indefinite range. 
Derived from an engineering change proposal to the twin-engine CH-53D helicopter, the CH-53E has consistently proven its worth to the Fleet commanders with its versatility and range. With four and one half hours' endurance, the Super Stallion can move more equipment over rugged terrain in bad weather and at night. During Operation Eastern Exit two CH-53Es launched from amphibious ships and flew 463 nautical miles (532.45 miles) at night, refueling twice enroute, to rescue American and foreign allies from the American Embassy in the civil war-torn capital of Mogadishu, Somalia in January of 1990. Two CH-53Es rescued Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady in Bosnia in June 1995.