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Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe / Erickson S-64 Skycrane

Heavy-Lift Cargo / Firefighting Helicopter

Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe / Erickson S-64 Skycrane

Heavy-Lift Cargo / Firefighting Helicopter

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The unique Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane heavy-lift helicopter also spawned a military form in the CH-54 Tarhe for the United States Army.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1962
STATUS: Active, Limited Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Sikorsky Aircraft / Erickson Air-Crane - USA
PRODUCTION: 215
OPERATORS: Italy; South Korea; United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe / Erickson S-64 Skycrane model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 3
LENGTH: 88.48 feet (26.97 meters)
WIDTH: 72.01 feet (21.95 meters)
HEIGHT: 25.43 feet (7.75 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 19,798 pounds (8,980 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 46,297 pounds (21,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Pratt & Whitney T73-P-700 turboshaft engines developing 4,800 shaft horsepower each powering a six-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor.
SPEED (MAX): 149 miles-per-hour (240 kilometers-per-hour; 130 knots)
RANGE: 230 miles (370 kilometers; 200 nautical miles)
CEILING: 18,373 feet (5,600 meters; 3.48 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,330 feet-per-minute (405 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



None.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• YCH-54A - Six Pre-Production Aircraft
• CH-54A - Initial Production Model; fitted with 2 x T-73-P1 series turboshaft engines of 4,500 shaft horsepower; 54 examples produced.
• CH-54B - Second Production Model; increased weight; based on the CH-54A; fitted with 2 x T-73-P700 turboshaft engines of 4,800 shaft horsepower; 29 examples produced.
• S-64 "Skycrane" - Civilian Variant of the US Army CH-54 Tarhe; 3 examples produced.
• S-64A - Evaluation Models for the US Army; 6 examples delivered.
• S-64E - Civilian Version based on the CH-54A production model for the US Army; 7 examples produced.
• S-64 "Aircrane" - Current Civilian Production Form.
• S-64E - Upgraded CH-54A production models; single new-build example.
• S-64F - UPgraded CH-54B production models; fitted with 2 x Pratt & Whitney JFTD12-5A series engines.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe / Erickson S-64 Skycrane Heavy-Lift Cargo / Firefighting Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 8/7/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The original Sikorsky S-60 proved itself as a heavy-lift helicopter through its sole example completed. This model was born from the established CH-47 "Mojave" (detailed elsewhere on this site) of the United States military and used as the basis for the dimensionally larger S-64 "Skycrane" heavy-lift series. The large helicopter - easily identifiable by its largely missing fuselage section - has seen consistent service in the civilian market since introduction in the 1960s. It served as the base design for the military-minded CH-54 "Tarhe" line as well. A prototype went airborne for the first time on May 9th, 1962 and, in 1992, production rights for the series was obtained by Erickson Air-Crane which has taken on manufacture of the large helicopter from Sikorsky since.

Total production of S-64 units was 110 beginning with the original S-64 built in three examples. These were followed by six evaluation models for the United States Army as the S-64A. From that came the S-64B which was the civilian-minded version of the Army's CH-54A model and seven were produced. Under Erickson, the line was broadened to include the S-64E and S-64F model marks, these becoming upgraded forms of the CH-54A and CH-54B respectively - the F-model introducing Pratt & Whitney JFTD12-5A series engines.

Civilian market operators of the S-64 are found in Italy, South Korea and the United States. Its primary role is in firefighting where its unique configuration allows the helicopter to carry a considerable water load over uneven terrain, dropping its contents onto raging wildfires with the hope of putting the fire source out.

Production of the military-minded Tarhe yielded 105 total units of its own beginning with the six YCH-54A pre-production models. These were followed by the CH-54A production form which fitted 2 x PW T73-P-1 series turboshaft engines of 4,500 horsepower and 54 examples were built to the standard. The CH-54B saw an increase in overall weight as well as a twin-wheeled undercarriage introduced while power was now served through PW T73-P799 turboshaft engines of 4,800 horsepower. 37 examples were manufactured.

Beyond its service with the United States Army, the CH-54 has been featured by the NASA service of the United States for various program work. In military use, the Tarhe has hauled all manner of heavy objects - from oversized bombs and attack helicopters to combat tanks and cargo containers. A special version even featured skies as its undercarriage.




PROGRAM UPDATES

March 2018 - Flight tests of an S-65 featuring a composite main rotor blade assembly are ongoing. Certification is scheduled for later in 2018 and will be an offered upgrade to E- and F-models as well as to the related CH-54A/B model family. The airfoil on the new blade design is expected to increase overall efficiency of these aging platforms.
MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (149mph).

    Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
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  TKY
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  SYD
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  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Sikorsky CH-54B Tarhe's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
215
215

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue