1/72 Fujimi Sikorsky CH-53 D Minesweeper
Gallery Article by Derek Derks - April 03, 2009
Plane Type: Helicopter; Plane Name: CH-53; Scale: 1/72; Kit Manufacturer: Fujimi
The "D" version from the Sea Stallion is adapted for mine sweeping operations in shallow and coastal waters. They were equipped with more powerful turbine engines to be able to perform safely while towing the sweeping system through the water. Mines are weapons to (temporarily) deny the enemy access to its own vital waterways and harbors. Normally, mines are being swept by special equipped small naval vessels. These vessels are working mainly in small groups together. They are progressing slow, but very accurate. To avoid the long process of sweeping a waterway, the US Navy created the SPU-1 system. It is a kind of platform, floating on water skis. Through a long cable, the platform is connected to the helicopter. After connecting the system, the helicopter will slowly tighten the cable and then put the turbines into full gear. When speed is picking up, the SPU-1 system will raise out of the water and finally rest on its water skis. The system can handle acoustic, contact and magnetic mines. If working correctly during the mine sweeping, the mines will surface and will be destroyed by machinegun fire. The described system dates out of the Vietnam and Desert Storm era. It gave the Navy a rapid and safe excess in those waterways. Another advantage was that it could be repeated quite easily. They were powered by two General Electric turbine engines generating 4380 HP per engine. Maximum take off weight was 23000 kilo and according to my information, fifteen helicopters have been operational. The 53D is no longer in the US-Navy inventory. It is replaced by the MH-53 Super Stallion.
The RH-53D has been brought from the hangar deck to the flight deck of a US Navy carrier. Technical personnel are preparing the mighty beast for another operational task. The rotor blades and tail rotor are still folded. The mule (tow tractor) that towed the helicopter to its spot on the deck is still waiting for further orders.
Notice the extended mirrors that gave the flight crew a good rear view of the towing system. There is also a extended in-flight refueling probe to extend operations.
The kit was constructed straight from the box and was a great pleasure, with no problems what so ever. It is a shame that Fujimi kits are so hard to acquire in Europe.
The flight deck is from Verlinden and the mule is from the Fujimi flight deck crew.
Xtra colour engine gray was used for the overall fuselage.
Decals, Superscale 72-444
Digital Pictures were taken with a Ricoh Caplio G4 Wide.
ARC Air Forum Name: Derek_Derks
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Photos and text © by Derek Derks.