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Sikorsky wins USAF Combat Rescue Helicopter contract

27th June 2014 - 14:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Sikorsky has been awarded the US Air Force’s $1.28 billion Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) contract. The award will see the company undertake the initial engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the contract and deliver the first four helicopters for the programme.

The US Air Force plans to procure 112 aircraft under the CRH programme, which will replace the force’s fleet of ageing Sikorsky-built HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters.

Sikorsky will develop a derivative of the UH-60M Black Hawk model for the programme. Like the UH-60M helicopter, the aircraft will feature T700-GE-701D engines, composite wide-chord main rotor blades, and fatigue- and corrosion-resistant machined aero-structures to sustain maneuverability at high density altitudes.

The CRH programme had been in some doubt of late as budgeting issues plagued the US Air Force’s plans to move forward with a Pave Hawk replacement. However it now appears confident that the effort will be a success.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, said: ‘Over the last 10 years, the air force has discussed upgrading the platform that performs this sacred mission for all Department of Defense personnel who go into harm’s way. This mission is part of the military ethos, and the air force is committed to providing it.

‘The resulting contract is $700 million below the government's affordability target gate. The government has performed a thorough analysis of the proposed price and concluded this contract award is a very good buy for the taxpayer.’
Sikorsky was the only bidder for the contract, and will develop the SAR aircraft for personnel recovery operations in hostile locations, humanitarian missions, civil SAR, disaster relief, casualty and medical evacuation, as well as non-combatant evacuation operations
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Mark A Welsh III, said: ‘We are committed to ensuring our airmen are equipped to rescue America's warriors whenever and wherever necessary. This contract secures that mission for many years to come.’

The EMD contract includes development and integration of the rescue mission systems; delivery of four aircraft; as well as seven aircrew and maintainer training systems. Initial training of US Air Force aircrew and maintainers and five CRH aircraft are also expected to be delivered by 2020, once additional aircraft and training options are exercised.

The Shephard News Team


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