Fleet Readiness Center East delivered the last H-53E to come out of desert retirement to Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 302, May 7.
When the depot inducted Bureau Number 161181 in August 2008, it marked the end of the depot pulling H-53E aircraft from the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, for repair, special rework, and return to the Fleet.
Since the start of the program in August 2005, FRC East H-53 artisans have inducted and completed 10 of the heavy-lift helicopters – eight CH-53E’s and two CH-53D’s.
The program wasn’t without its challenges. AMARG aircraft had been idle for as much as 11 years and artisans had no idea which systems might work. Even with these variables, the H-53 team managed to complete most of the aircraft ahead of schedule and under budget.
Sikorsky stopped manufacturing the H-53 in 1999, which made refurbishing AMARG aircraft the only way of adding to the Sea and Super Stallion inventories. The rejuvenation of each aircraft encompassed dozens of airframe modifications, hundreds of inspections, and more than 25,000 work hours.
The depot sold its last CH-53D Sea Stallion, April 16.
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