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Sikorsky CH-3E

The CH-3E is the U.S. Air Force's version of the Sikorsky S-61 amphibious transport helicopter developed for the U.S. Navy. The USAF initially operated six Navy HSS-2 (SH-3A) versions of the S-61 in 1962, eventually designating them CH-3A/Bs. They were so successful the USAF ordered 75 modified versions, designated CH-3C. First flown in June 1963, the CH-3C featured a new rear fuselage design with a ramp for vehicles and other cargo. When 41 CH-3Cs were updated with more powerful engines in 1966, they were redesignated CH-3Es, and 45 more were newly manufactured. 

Later, 50 CH-3Es were modified for combat rescue missions with armor, defensive armament, self-sealing fuel tanks, a rescue hoist and in-flight refueling capability. They were redesignated HH-3Es and used extensively in Southeast Asia under the nickname "Jolly Green Giant."

The museum's CH-3E -- known as Black Mariah -- is a veteran of the Southeast Asia War. In 1965 it was attached to the 20th Helicopter Squadron. Painted flat black (hence the nickname), it was used for highly classified special missions.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Armament: Provisions for two machine guns
Engines: Two General Electric T58-GE-5 turboshaft engines of 1,500 hp each 
Crew: Three
Maximum speed: 177 mph
Cruising speed: 154 mph
Range: 779 miles with external fuel tanks
Ceiling: 21,000 ft.
Main rotor diameter: 62 ft.
Fuselage length: 73 ft.
Height: 18 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 22,050 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 63-9676


Click here to return to the Southeast Asia War Gallery.