USAF to install LifePort's iBASS system in HH-60G Pave Hawk fleet
LifePort has secured a contract to install its Improved Ballistic Armor Sub System (iBASS) onboard the US Air Force Special Operations Command's (AFSOC) HH-60G Pave Hawk personnel recovery helicopter fleet.
Covering deliveries of an unspecified number of iBASS units, the contract was disclosed during the 2013 LAAD Defence & Security International Exhibition, which was held on 9-12 April in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
LifePort Operations director Dwayne Starnes said the selection is based on the company's reputation for quality engineering, design and performance history.
The company is capable of manufacturing qualified armoured flight seat pallets, which are based on strict USAF specifications, and will greatly enhance crew safety, Starnes added.
Manufactured in collaboration with the USAF, the ballistic armour seat pallets will replace the helicopter's existing armour system, to help enhance the pilot, flight engineer, and air crew protection against small arms fire during rescue operations.
Once installed, the system is also expected to cause a 35% weight reduction to the aircraft, leading to improvements in overall mission duration.
Powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines, the HH-60G Pave Hawk is a derivative of Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter, and is primarily used for day or night personnel recovery missions in hostile environments.
Equipped with upgraded communications and navigation suite, the multi-mission helicopter can also be configured to conduct peace-time operations, including civilian search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, as well as humanitarian assistance and counter-drug activities worldwide.
Around 100 Pave Hawks have been deployed to date by the USAF, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard (ANG) for conducting operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
Contract deliveries to the air force are scheduled to start this month, with an estimated completion by the end of September 2013.
Image: US Airmen working on an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Photo: TSgt Matt Hecht.