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Sikorsky MH-53J Pave Low III
Sikorsky MH-53J Pave Low III special operations helicopter. Model features a fully detailed cockpit and passenger cabin with 3 minigun emplacements, fully functional landing gear, the main rotor is on a double gimbal allowing movement in two axis, both the main and tail rotor blade pitch is adjustable, and a folding tail boom and main rotor.
About this creation

Front closeup of the model. The large dome on the left hand side of the nose is the terrain following radar, and the telescoping refueling probe is mounted on the right hand side. The black object below the nose is a spotlight, mounted next to the FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) ball turret.


The MH-53J Pave Low III helicopter was the largest, most powerful and technologically advanced transport helicopter in the US Air Force inventory. The terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radar, forward looking infrared sensor, inertial navigation system with Global Positioning System, along with a projected map display enable the crew to follow terrain contours and avoid obstacles, making low-level penetration possible.


Left hand side view of the model. The sheer size of the aircraft is visible here. The only larger western helicopter is the US Navy's MH-53E Sea Dragon minesweeping helicopter, a 3-engined upsized variant of the H-53 family derived from the CH-53E Super Sea Stallion.


Lower left view of the model. The three external sling load hooks are easily visible. Together these can carry a combined load of 20,000lbs slung under the aircraft.


Left rear view of the model with the main rotor and tail boom folded for compact storage. As the aircraft derived from a design intended for the US Marine Corps originally, it retained the ability to fold for shipboard storage. This is useful for the Pave Low as the nature of its missions frequently call for clandestine deployments aboard naval vessels.


Right front view of the model with the main rotor and tail boom folded.


Top view of the model.


Bottom view of the model. All three gear retract, with the front gear covered by a bifold door and the main gear left exposed.

Under the Pave Low III program, the Air Force modified nine MH-53Hs and 32 HH-53s for night and adverse weather operations. Modifications included AN/AAQ-18 forward-looking infrared, inertial navigation system, global positioning system, Doppler navigation systems, APQ-158 terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radar, an on-board mission computer, enhanced navigation system, and integrated avionics to enable precise navigation to and from target areas. The Air Force designated these modified versions as MH-53Js.


Closeup of the double gimbal mechanism that allows cyclic control on the model. As the scale does not allow a working swashplate, this method was engineered to give two axis of movement to the main rotor. The outer grey technic box pivots longitudinally, allowing fore and aft tilting of the rotor. The inner chrome technic box pivots at 90 degrees to the grey box, allowing sideways tilting of the rotor. When pivoted together the two boxes allow 360 tilting of the rotor, much like an actual cyclic control of a helicopter.


Interior view of the model, showing the three M134 minigun emplacements and ammo boxes, the left and right avionics and equipment racks, fire extinguishers, emergency gear, and folding troop seats.

The MH-53J's main mission was to drop off, supply, and pick up special forces behind enemy lines. It also can engage in combat search and rescue missions. Low-level penetration was made possible by a state-of-the-art terrain following radar, as well as infrared sensors that allow the helicopter to operate in bad weather. It was equipped with armor plating. It could transport 38 troops at a time and sling up to 20,000 pounds (9,000 kg) of cargo with its external hook. It was capable of a top speed of 165 mph (266 km/h) and had a ceiling of 16,000 feet (4,900 m).


View looking aft out the rear ramp of the model, with a M134 6 barreled 7.62mm minigun mounted on the aft of the ramp. The ammo feeds from the large box mounted on the forward left of the ramp, and spent shells are ejected out the left side of the weapon and overboard. The gunner sits exposed with his legs dangling over the end of the ramp, with a safety tether connecting him to the aircraft.


View from the aft ramp looking forward. The ramp mounted M134 minigun is in the foreground, with the ammo box behind and to the left at the front of the ramp. In the background are the avionics and equipment racks on the right and left, the two forward gunner stations, each with another M134, and the cockpit just beyond.


Closeup of the forward part of the passenger compartment. The avionics rack can is on the left, with the back of the equipment rack on the right mounted high. The two forward M134 minigun emplacements can be seen, with their ammo boxes mounted next to them and an ammo belt feeding each. Both are mounted on a dual pivot to allow movement in two axis. The right hand minigun is mounted on the starboard forward access door, which itself can be opened if the minigun is removed. The upper half of the door is opened against the roof of the interior, with a similar opening on the port side. Two of the fire extinguishers can also be seen in this picture, mounted next to and below the starboard equipment rack.


Interior view of the cockpit of the model. The dual cyclic and collective controls are visible, as are the right side anti-torque "rudder" pedals.

General characteristics

Crew: 6 (two pilots, two flight engineers and two aerial gunners)
Capacity: 37 troops (55 in alternate configuration)
Length: 88 ft (28 m)
Rotor diameter: 72 ft (21.9 m)
Height: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Empty weight: 32,000 lb (14,515 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 46,000 lb (50,000 lb in war time) (21,000 kg)
Powerplant: 2 T64-GE-100 turboshaft, 4,330 shp (3,230 kW) each
Rotor system: 6 blades

Performance

Maximum speed: 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h)
Cruise speed: 150 kt (173 mph, 278 km/h)
Range: 600 nmi (1,100 km)can be extended with in-flight refueling
Service ceiling: 16,000 ft (4,900 m)

Armament

Any combination of three 7.62 mm M134 Miniguns and/or .50 BMG (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns mounted on left and right sides (immediately behind flight deck) and ramp

Info courtesy Wikipedia.




Comments

 I like it 
  July 19, 2014
incredibly detailed design! Your LDD skills are about the best I've seen; this is a digital wonder you have here!
 I like it 
  July 5, 2014
Wow! Absolutely stunning! Any possibility of sharing the LDR? I'd love to build this. I'd be happy with instructions and a parts list. Awesome!
 I like it 
  June 8, 2014
Amazing accuracy. Excellent.
 I like it 
  June 7, 2014
wow that is amazing, i don't think of how you could add any more detail or make it better (unless it could fly but i guess that is not possible) its perfect keep up the good work
 I like it 
  April 16, 2014
Incredible! I am astounded at how much detail you pack into your builds, and just how life-like they look. This is one helluva build. Great work!
 I like it 
  April 11, 2014
Love it, very accurate to the original aircraft!
 I like it 
  April 5, 2014
Mmm. I'm just working on a tricky 6 blade main rotor with working cyclic and collective in nearly the same size (I am not using the TLG swashplate, as this is totally useless). Correctly folding blades are more complicated story. Respect for the solution.
 I made it 
  April 5, 2014
Quoting Garrett Bodily I would give this 15 stars if they'd let me! I use to work for Pratt and Whitney, one of Sikorsky's partner companies in UTC, so I always enjoy seeing aerospace models! Igor would be proud!
Thanks! I'm still making small tweaks to the model, but glad to hear I'm doing it right! :D
 I like it 
  April 5, 2014
I would give this 15 stars if they'd let me! I use to work for Pratt and Whitney, one of Sikorsky's partner companies in UTC, so I always enjoy seeing aerospace models! Igor would be proud!
 I made it 
  April 5, 2014
Quoting Matt Bace Wow! This is incredible. The shaping is perfect and the functional details are great. I really like how you incorporated the folding of the main rotor. If you had said that it also had a swash plate with working cyclic and collective, it would have been one of the greatest feats of LEGO engineering that I had ever seen, but the double gimbal mechanism is pretty impressive as well, and it is certainly a reasonable compromise.
As big as it is, not quite enough room for a fully functional swashplate. The double gimbal is the best compromise I could manage, and that at least allows realistic movement of the main rotor.
 I like it 
  April 5, 2014
Superb work!
 I like it 
  April 5, 2014
Wow! This is incredible. The shaping is perfect and the functional details are great. I really like how you incorporated the folding of the main rotor. If you had said that it also had a swash plate with working cyclic and collective, it would have been one of the greatest feats of LEGO engineering that I had ever seen, but the double gimbal mechanism is pretty impressive as well, and it is certainly a reasonable compromise.
 I like it 
  April 5, 2014
Great model! It looks wonderful. The detail work is amazing (as usual) without being too overbearing. You've really got the shape and proportions down perfectly. Excellent work!
 I like it 
  April 5, 2014
Wow! That looks nice. Airframe is terrific as usual. Can we see more detailed pictures about rotors?
 I like it 
  April 4, 2014
Wow! This is massive. Beautiful work! I like the main rotor . By your description it sounds awesome. Excellent
 I like it 
  April 4, 2014
Gorgeous! Very sleek!
 
By Justin Davies
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