Lockheed Martin has completed the air vehicle preliminary design review (PDR) of its combat rescue helicopter (CRH) HH-60W, which is being offered as a replacement for the US Air Force’s (USAF) HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters.

Performed under a $1.2bn engineering manufacturing and development (EMD) contract with the USAF, the review demonstrated that the overall design of the helicopter meets the air force’s requirements.

Awarded in June 2014, the EMD contract covers the supply of four HH-60W helicopters, as well as six aircrew and maintenance training systems.

The training suite includes devices such as full motion simulators and discrete aircraft systems used for training, such as hoist and landing gear.

The HH-60W CRH is being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft in co-operation with Lockheed Martin for the USAF CRH programme. It is an advanced variant of the combat-proven UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.

Sikorsky CRH programme director Tim Healy said: "Our training team is also executing extremely well and will be conducting the PDR for the training system three months earlier than originally scheduled.

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"Our training team is also executing extremely well and will be conducting the PDR for the training system three months earlier than originally scheduled."

"This will further reduce our risk to achieving the USAF accelerated schedule for CRH and delivering this critical capability to the AF rescue crews faster."

The CRH aircraft comes with GE T700-701D engines, composite wide-cord main rotor blades and fatigue and corrosion-resistant machined aero-structures to sustain manoeuvrability at high density altitudes.

It can be deployed in casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation missions, civil search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and insertion or extraction of combat forces.

The design of the aircraft includes an advanced tactical mission kit integrating multiple sensors, data links, defensive systems, and other sources of intelligence information for use by combat rescue aircrews.

Image: An illustration of the Sikorsky combat rescue helicopter. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto / Lockheed Martin.