The U.S. Marine Corps has kicked off a three-year refresh effort on 147 Sikorsky-built CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopters.
The move to reset CH-53E is in response to an independent readiness review ordered by Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the USMC’s deputy commandant for aviation, following the January 2014 crash of an MH-53E Sea Dragon, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday.
The review found that faulty electrical wires inside the aircraft and a fuel line breach caused fire in the cabin and cockpit.
“What was discovered was that the material condition of the aircraft, both the CH-53E and the MH-53E, was degraded,” said Col. Hank Vanderborght, program manager for the H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters Program Office at Naval Air Systems Command.
Vanderborght added that in response to the findings, the Marine Corps would “put every airframe through an on-average 110-day process of stripping the aircraft down completely, rebuilding it and changing out any high-time components.”
The Corps also plans to address the training of CH-53E maintainers as part of the refresh.