HH-60W production approved

THE DEPARTMENT OF Defense (DoD) gave its approval for the Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) to enter low-rate initial production (LRIP) on September 24.
Four instrumented HH-60Ws are currently supporting testing at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center near West Palm Beach, Florida. The production approval followed demonstrations conducted during rigorous USAF performance and flight load survey testing. The CRH flight-test team completed more than 70 hours of envelope expansion flights that provided the USAF with the data necessary to execute the Milestone C decision.
HH-60W [Sikorsky]
All four engineering development model HH-60Ws fly a formation hover test at Sikorsky Aircraft’s Development Flight Center near West Palm Beach, Florida, on September 5. Sikorsky

The USAF plans to acquire 113 UH-60M-based HH-60Ws as replacements for its current fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawks. Five HH-60Ws comprising four engineering developmental models and the first of five System Demonstration and Test Articles (SDTA) are currently supporting testing. The SDTAs will be used for initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) efforts. The first LRIP production lot is expected to include 10 HH-60Ws for delivery in February 2021.

The USAF is already looking at upgrades for the HH-60W that will incorporate numerous new systems such as a Distributed Aperture Infra-Red Countermeasures (DAIRCM) system, a degraded visual environment system (DVES) to sense/display uncharted en route and terminal terrain, obstacles, and wires and enhance aircrew situational awareness, a video datalink for live-streaming fullmotion video from supporting assets and to transmit onboard sensor video to ground teams, plus other improvements. Although the CRH is a substantial upgrade to the HH-60G, some systems being considered are already in use on the Pave Hawk, but were not available when the CRH configuration was baselined.