Sikorsky Aircraft has been awarded a US$1.28 billion engineering and manufacturing development contract to develop a variant of its UH-60M Black Hawk for the US Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) requirement.
An initial four Combat Rescue Helicopters will be acquired under the EMD contract, which will see the development and integration of the new helicopter’s rescue mission systems. The Air Force is expected to acquire a total of 112 aircraft to replace its ageing HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. Sikorsky says that initial training of USAF aircrew and maintainers and five Combat Rescue Helicopters is expected to be delivered by 2020, “once additional aircraft and training options are exercised”.
In being based on the newer UH-60M, the Combat Rescue Helicopter will feature GE T700-GE-701D engines and composite main rotor blades, and will also feature increased fuel capacity compared the the HH-60G, which was based on the earlier UH-60A.
Sikorsky was the sole bidder for the CRH requirement. This is the second attempt to field a replacement for the HH-60G after the 2006 contract award of the CSAR-X program to Boeing with a design based on its H-47 Chinook was overturned by the US Government Accountability Office following protests from Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin, which had both separately bid for the program.