The U.S. Air Force is moving forward with a derivative of the Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk for a Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) to replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk fleet. Lockheed Martin is also involved as a major subsystems supplier for the CRH program. There are currently around 100 HH-60Gs in service with the Air Force (active plus reserve) and Air National Guard.
The first portion of the long-term agreement, referred to as an Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract, is valued at $1.28 billion and covers the development of the helicopter and its mission systems, four aircraft and seven aircrew and maintainer training systems.
The Air Force requirement calls for up to 112 aircraft that could reach an estimated cost of $7.9 billion, however the contract has been structured to “handle fluctuations of quantities,” according to a Department of Defense statement. “Eventual production quantities would be determined year-by-year over the life of the program, based on funding allocations set by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition priorities,” Sikorsky added in a statement.
Graphic of the Combat Rescue Helicopter. Image courtesy of Sikorsky Aircraft
Work is scheduled to continue through June 2029 at Sikorsky’s plant in Stratford, Conn. The award came as a result of a “competitive acquisition” process, according to DoD, however the Air Force only received one bid to an October 2012 solicitation.
The agreement covers development, production and initial support for the CRH. Sikorsky intends to provide initial training for aircrew and maintenance personnel by 2020.
Related: Military SAR News