WEST PALM BEACH, FL—Sikorsky Aircraft has announced that the maiden flights of two of its fully assembled HH-60W combat rescue helicopters are expected to happen before June at its development flight center here. Both helicopters have been built for the U.S. Air Force and were transported here last year following final assembly at Sikorsky’s facility in Stratford, CT.
A total of nine aircraft will be built in Connecticut during the Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program, including four EMD aircraft and five System Demonstration Test Articles. The Air Force program of record calls for 112 helicopters to replace its aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters.
The aircraft test readiness review of the HH-60W was completed in October 2018. The helicopter flight test team is currently preparing both aircraft for flight by conducting final installation of instrumentation and ground run testing.
The first of the two HH-60W aircraft will enter flight test with the Tactical Mission Kit, a suite of sensors, radar, and defense systems designed to bring added intelligence into the cockpit and enhance pilots’ situational awareness. Sikorsky engineers completed the system configuration test readiness review milestones for the Kit last year.
The HH-60W features an upgraded fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the internal tank on a UH-60M Black Hawk, giving the crew extended range and more capability to rescue those injured in the battle space. The new helicopter also offers a more capable defensive system, vulnerability reduction, weapons, cyber-security, environmental, and net-centric capabilities than that currently held by the HH-60G.