‘Green Light’ for Production of Sikorsky’s HH-60W Combat Rescue helicopter
WASHINGTON, (BM) – The Air Force has given its new combat rescue helicopter the green light to go into production, its manufacturer Lockheed Martin Sikorsky said Tuesday, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, quoting Defense News.
After four test aircraft performed more than 70 hours of flight tests, the Air Force approved a “Milestone C” decision for Sikorsky’s HH-60W Combat Rescue helicopter, moving the program to low rate initial production.
“We have just successfully gained approval to launch the production of a helicopter that will save the lives of our warfighters and our allies all over the world. This decision begins the transition to this more capable and reliable helicopter to fulfill the Air Force’s mission to leave no one behind,” said Col. Dale R. White, the Air Force’s program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and special operations forces.
The HH-60W derivative of the Black Hawk boasts better defensive systems than the HH-60G Pave Hawk currently used for the combat rescue mission. The “Whiskey” model also includes a new fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the internal tank, as well as improvements to hover performance, avionics and weapons, Sikorsky stated in a news release.
The Air Force plans to buy 113 HH-60W aircraft, and five helicopters are currently in production at Sikorsky’s facility in Stratford, Conn. After a first flight in May, the four previously-built test aircraft had undergone evaluations at the company’s flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla., which the Air Force used to assess the aircraft’s performance and load-carrying characteristics.
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Source: Defense News