The Air Force could take delivery of the first HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter as early as the year’s end — two months ahead of schedule. The helicopter, an improved variant of the service’s Pave Hawk, would deliver significantly enhanced capabilities.
“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,” said Tim Healy, director of Sikorsky Air Force Programs, the aircraft’s manufacturer.
The initial aircraft slated for delivery are undergoing installation of a tactical-mission kit at Lockheed Martin’s Owego, N.Y., facility. (Sikorsky is a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.) The kit package includes integrated sensors, radars and defense systems — all geared toward giving the aircraft’s pilots better situational awareness and capabilities to make quick mission-related decisions. The helicopter also carries two internal tanks capable of holding 660 gallons of fuel each — double the capacity of the Army’s UH-60M Black Hawk.
The Air Force has ordered 112 HH-60Ws, to replace its aging fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters.