Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. will compete jointly for the contract to replace the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of combat search and rescue helicopters.
The two companies signed a teaming agreement formalizing their intent to offer an advanced version of Sikorsky’s UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter for the Air Force’s HH-60 Personnel Recovery Recapitalization program (HH-60 Recap). The agreement positions Sikorsky as prime contractor, with Lockheed Martin as the major subsystems supplier.
The HH-60 Recap program seeks to replace the 112 existing HH-60G PAVE HAWK™ helicopter fleet with an equal number of new aircraft requiring minimum airframe modification or mission systems development. The initial operational capability of eight aircraft — four trainers and four mission-ready aircraft, plus test aircraft — is expected in fiscal year 2015.
“Our team has the resources and experience to rapidly deliver the proven UH-60M airframe design with mature situational awareness sensors and mission systems,” said Scott Starrett, president of Sikorsky Military Systems. “We believe a UH-60M aircraft missionized for the complexities of the combat search and rescue mission will fit seamlessly into established Air Force training and logistics operations, thus providing a fiscally responsible and reliable platform for rescue operations.”
Sikorsky submitted a response to the U.S. Air Force’s HH-60 Recap request for information on April 23. The document details how the UH-60M helicopter would be manufactured and integrated as a low-risk, off-the-shelf solution for the combat search and rescue mission.
Operational with the U.S. Army (including as a medevac helicopter in the HH-60M configuration), the UH-60M features a strengthened airframe, wider rotor blades and more powerful engines than earlier-design BLACK HAWK helicopters. Sikorsky has delivered 200 ‘M’ model helicopters to the U.S. Army since 2005.