Sikorsky is beginning final assembly of its first HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter, the first engineering manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft to be assembled at its Stratford headquarters. A total of nine aircraft will be built in Connecticut during the EMD phase of the program.
The company, a division of Lockheed Martin, said the timing of the final assembly means the aircraft’s first flight could occur by the end of the year, two months ahead of schedule.
The final assembly process includes installation of the new Tactical Mission Kit delivered from Lockheed Martin’s Owego, New York, facility. The integration of sensors, radar and multiple defense systems is designed to bring added intelligence into the cockpit, giving pilots more information to make split-second decisions.
“The HH-60W will be the most thoroughly networked and connected vertical lift platform ever produced, bringing unrivaled capability in high-threat environments,” said Tim Healy, director of Sikorsky Air Force Programs. “The HH-60W allows the entire suite of air and space power to be linked and employed in support of combat rescue operations, even in deep and denied territory.”
The U.S. Air Force program of record calls for 112 helicopters to replace the Air Force’s aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services.
The $1.5 billion contract includes development and integration of the next generation combat rescue helicopter and mission systems, including delivery of nine HH-60W helicopters as well as six air crew and maintenance training devices. Sikorsky said it successfully conducted the training systems design review in September.