The U.S. Air Force publicly unveiled its next-generation HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) during a ceremony at its Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The new helicopter is manufactured by Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin, and is designed to replace Air Force’s aging fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawks.
During the event, United States Air Force General James M. Holmes, Commander, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia (91) described the HH-60W helicopter as a critical tool for the warfighter.
“I want to say thanks to everyone from Sikorsky for your dedication to your craft, for consistently living up to your mission statement of pioneering flight solutions that bring people home everywhere every time. And that partnership is incredibly valuable to us and the guys on the ground,” Gen. Holmes said. “We’re proud to work with you to deliver the most intuitive, precise, technologically advanced systems to our airmen.”
Other dignitaries attending the event included Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) from Florida’s 18th District.
The U.S. Air Force program of record calls for 113 helicopters to replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services.
“The Combat Rescue Helicopter is the new era in Air Force aviation and a pivotal milestone that ties to our company’s legacy of bringing people home,” said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz. “Sikorsky employees and our nationwide supply chain are ready to begin producing, delivering and supporting this all-new aircraft for the warfighter.”
The HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter is significantly more capable and reliable than its predecessor, the HH-60G.The aircraft hosts a new fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the internal tank on a UH-60M BLACK HAWK®, giving the Air Force crew extended range and more capability to rescue those injured in the battle space. The HH-60W specification drives more capable defensive systems, vulnerability reduction, hover performance, electrical capacity, avionics, cooling, weapons, cyber-security, environmental and net-centric requirements than currently held by the HH-60G.
“We send in brave men and women who are going to find a way to get the job done,” Dr. Roper said. “But they’ll tell you about flying in and not being certain that they could land safely or putting the broad side of their vehicle between a downed pilot and gunfire. When you hear those stories, you realize that we put heroes on these vehicles. We pick up heroes in these vehicles and they deserve every technology advantage we can give them.”