In the past decade—most recently in Afghanistan—the CH-53E Super Stallion clearly has established itself as the assault support helicopter of choice for long-range missions and operations that require the rapid buildup of combat power. However, when the MV-22 Osprey is introduced, the CH-53E no longer will be the best aircraft for long-range missions and might not be involved in the initial assault waves, a task it has come to perform routinely. Its relevancy will lie in the original mission for which it was designed: superior tactical mobility for the heavy weapons and supplies of Marine air-ground task forces (MAGTFs).
The Super Stallion is approaching its airframe limits; ownership costs are increasing at an alarming rate; and it requires a service-life extension program (SLEP) to remain viable through 2025. The CH-53E is the only aircraft in the Marine Corps' inventory that does not have a funded replacement or modernization program at this time.
Capabilities, Limitations, Requirements