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AFA 2019: Sikorsky anticipates first Combat Rescue Helicopter LRIP contract

Sikorsky expects its first of two low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts for its HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) to be awarded by the end of September, according to a company official.

Greg Hames, Sikorsky CRH programme director, told Jane’s that the company and the US Air Force (USAF) have a 24 September date scheduled with William Roper, the service’s acquisition executive, to sign a unilateral contract agreement for 10 aircraft. Sikorsky has had four CRH aircraft in flight tests that generated sufficient data for a Milestone C decision that also allowed the service a 30-day review prior to a contract award, he said.

A Sikorsky Combat Rescue Helicopter being developed for the US Air Force lifts a 3.63 metric ton external load on 6 August 2019. (Sikorsky)

A Sikorsky Combat Rescue Helicopter being developed for the US Air Force lifts a 3.63 metric ton external load on 6 August 2019. (Sikorsky)

The first CRH test aircraft flew on 17 May and the second aircraft flew on 23 May, which Hames said were both ahead of projected delivery dates in June. The third test aircraft flew on 8 August while the fourth aircraft flew on 27 August. Hames said all four aircraft, built at the company’s facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, have generated a total of 113.9 hours against a 50-hour requirement for Milestone C. Hames noted Sikorsky has been collecting CRH data beyond the 50-hour minimum.

The first system demonstration test article (SDTA) aircraft built at Sikorsky’s Connecticut facility flew on 6 September. This aircraft has accumulated seven maintenance test flight hours and also flew on 10 September, Hames said. Now that Sikorsky has established its task times, it is pivoting from the test programme into a production environment where it can regularly predict the aircraft moving from one position to another, he added.

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