Sikorsky Aircraft, headquartered in Stratford, Connecticut, has clinched a contract worth $650m to propel the development of long-term capability upgrades for the HH-60W combat rescue helicopter. 

This move marks a stride toward enhancing the helicopter’s performance and mission-critical systems.

This contract has a maximum ceiling of $650m, underlining the commitment to advancing the helicopter’s performance and ensuring its readiness for demanding missions.

The initial delivery order, valued at $91.2m, signifies the commencement of this project. Sikorsky’s task involves developing and integrating several systems onto the HH-60W air vehicle and its associated training systems. Notable among these enhancements are the global positioning system anti-jam, mobile user objective system, and degraded visual environment systems.

These integrated systems are poised to change the HH-60W’s operational capabilities, ensuring it can precisely navigate complex environments and challenging conditions. The development of these technologies represents a step forward in the evolution of search and rescue operations, aligning with the needs of the US Air Force.

The HH-60W Jolly Green II combat rescue helicopter is a transport and utility helicopter. Between 2021 and 2022, the US Air Force received the delivery of eleven helicopters, according to GlobalData’s intelligence on the “US Defense Market 2022-2027“.

Sikorsky performed the maiden flightapproved the production, and delivered the HH-60W helicopters to the US Air Force for testing of the HH-60W combat rescue helicopter, all in the same year, 2019.  

The weapon systems and simulators for the HH-60W were in final assembly in 2018. The USAF has plans to acquire up to 113 HH-60W helicopters, which will replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk medium-lift combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) vehicle. Pave Hawk entered service in 1982.

The HH-60W has various capabilities, including an advanced ARC-210 V/UHF communication system, Rockwell Collins’ avionics and mission equipment, and an advanced glass cockpit.

The project will be based in Stratford, Connecticut, the home of Sikorsky Aircraft, with the contract set a completion date of 20 September 2030.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, oversees this contract. 

With Sikorsky’s track record in advancing helicopter technology, the HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter is poised to reach new heights in performance and effectiveness, ensuring the safety and success of rescue missions.