Sikorsky has completed the critical design review (CDR) of the HH-60W combat rescue helicopter’s (CRH) training systems for the US Air Force (USAF).

The CDR authorises the company to start assembly, test, and evaluation of the HH-60W helicopter’s training systems.

The four-day-long in-depth review was jointly carried out by Sikorsky and airforce teams.

This will pave the way for the development of maintenance and aircrew training devices, courseware products and the training required to support the initial CRH maintenance and aircrew cadre.

Sikorsky CRH programme director Tim Healy said: “This capability is badly needed by the USAF rescue warriors that have continually engaged in combat operations since 1991.

“Sikorsky is absolutely committed to them and the accelerated schedule.

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“The aircraft production is well underway and with our training system design well understood by all parties, we can now begin assembly of the training devices and courseware as well.”

“The first flight of the HH-60W aircraft is scheduled for late next year.”

Under the $1.5bn engineering manufacturing and development (EMD) contract, the company will develop and integrate the next-generation CRH and mission systems.

The contract covers the delivery of nine HH-60W helicopters, as well as six aircrew and maintenance training devices and instructional courseware designed specifically for the HH-60W aircraft.

The training devices run the spectrum from full-motion simulators, full aircraft maintenance trainers, and discrete part-task training devices for aircraft systems such as avionics, rescue hoist and landing gear, according to the company.

The first flight of the HH-60W aircraft is scheduled for late next year, while training devices and courseware will be ready for training at the beginning of 2020.