The H-53 family of heavy-lift helicopters is used by the United States Navy in a mine countermeasure role and by the Marine Corps to lift heavy equipment (including Light Armored Vehicles and artillery batteries). Despite its 1960s origin, it remains one of the most proven, competent heavy-lift systems in the world.
The CH-53E Super Stallion is designed for the transportation of equipment, supplies and personnel during the assault phase of an amphibious operation and subsequent operations ashore. Capable of both internal and external transport of supplies, the CH-53E is shipboard compatible and capable of operation in adverse weather conditions both day and night.
The MH-53E Sea Dragon is used primarily for Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM), with secondary missions of vertical shipboard delivery and assault support. It can operate from carriers and other warships and is capable of towing a variety of mine hunting/sweeping countermeasures systems, including the Mk 105 magnetic minesweeping sled, the AQS-14A side-scan sonar, and the Mk 103 mechanical minesweeping system. When performing the assault support mission, the MH-53E can be fitted with the GAU-21 .50-cal. machine gun ramp-mounted weapon system.