Two of Sikorsky’s fully assembled HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters (CRH) are being prepared for their maiden flights, which are scheduled to take place before midyear at the company’s site in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The aircraft were built for the U.S. Air Force and were transported late last year to West Palm Beach after being assembled at Sikorsky’s facility in Stratford. The aircraft test readiness review was completed in October and the CRH HH-60W flight test team is now readying the aircraft for flight by conducting final installation of instrumentation and ground run testing.
This marks formal entry into the flight test program that culminates in Ready Assets Available, which will enable the Air Force to declare Initial Operational Capability on the aircraft.
Greg Hames, Sikorsky’s CRH program director, said the flight test “is the first step toward a low rate initial production decision later this year, which will allow Sikorsky to provide a constant production flow of aircraft to the warfighter. This is the point in the program when Sikorsky begins providing new aircraft into the warfighters’ hands, initiating transition to the vastly more capable and reliable HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter.”
A total of nine aircraft will be built in Connecticut during the Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program, which consists of four EMD aircraft and five System Demonstration Test Articles. The Air Force program of record calls for the introduction of 112 new helicopters to take over from its aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters.