The US Air Force (USAF) is planning to upgrade the HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) being built by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.

The latest move by the service comes less than a year after receiving its first set of brand-new HH-60W CRHs.

In a document posted on the US Government’s contracting website, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Helicopter Program Office, said it intends to award a contract for the upgrade programme to Sikorsky on a sole-source basis.

The five-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract is estimated to cost $980.7m.

It will cover development, integration, verification, production and installation of the capability upgrades to the CRH air vehicle.

The first capability modification is planned to commence in FY2021.

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By GlobalData

The HH-60W is an advanced variant of the combat-proven UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter customised for the USAF’s rescue mission.

Upgrades are expected to be completed within a period of seven years.

In February last year, the USAF revealed the name of the new HH-60W CRH as ‘Jolly Green II’ at the 2020 Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, US.

The helicopter’s name honours the crews who pioneered the practice of aerial search and rescue missions.

The HH-60W features several capabilities that include advanced ARC-210 V/UHF communication system, Rockwell Collins’ avionics and mission equipment, as well as advanced glass cockpit that can accommodate two pilots side-by-side.

The helicopter’s features are designed to allow its crews to effectively conduct rescue missions.