The USAF’s New Sikorsky Helicopter Checks Every Box

The USAF’s New Sikorsky Helicopter Checks Every Box

It’s armed with just a pair of .50-caliber machine guns. Instead of rockets and missiles, you’ll find extra gallons of fuel tucked away in a tank behind the cabin. The collapsible seats can be stowed on the ceiling in seconds to make room for rescue crews as they work on patients.  

The USAF’s new Combat Rescue Helicopter, the Sikorsky’s HH-60W, knows exactly what it is: a search-and-rescue helicopter that prioritizes saving lives. 

The HH-60W marks a huge improvement over the HH-60 Pave Hawk that it’s replacing. 

It has roughly two times the fuel capacity and double the flight time, five hours as opposed to 2.5. It also has improved armor plating and detection capabilities for missiles and rockets, better optical and infrared cameras and more advanced tools to protect against cyber-attack. 

These features will make the HH-60W ideal for its primary mission: locating and rescuing pilots shot down in hostile territory. The HH-60W’s unique mix of range, light armament and heavy defensive features are seen as ideal for the kind of conflict expected in the 21st Century: conventional conflict between large, technologically advanced combatants rather than small-scale, asymmetric conflicts.

The HH-60W came about after the USAF awarded Lockheed Martin, the parent company of Sikorsky Aircraft, with a $1.3 billion contract to develop the aircraft. Development began in 2012, and its first flight took place this May. 

It’s expected to enter service as soon as 2020. Earlier this month, the USAF conducted its first pilot tests of the HH-60W at West Palm Beach, Florida. The USAF expects to order 113 HH-60Ws by 2029. 

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As an approved manufacturer of Sikorsky fasteners, we currently create Sikorsky Part Number – SS5213 in several diameter sizes. We also carry a large inventory of finished Sikorsky bolts and screws in stock.  

AMI is an AS9100 and ISO:9001 accredited, vertically integrated manufacturer of high strength, close tolerance aerospace bolts, screws, pins, studs, threaded rods and built-to-print specials. Our clientele includes industry leading OEMs like Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, Bombardier, General Electric, DLA, NAVICP, NASA, and the U.S. Navy.

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