Sikorsky, a division of Lockheed Martin, will build 12 additional HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopters (CRH) following a second Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract award by the U.S. Air Force, known as Lot 2, and valued at over $500 million.
The award follows a string of significant program milestones in 2019, including first flight, a Milestone C decision by the Air Force, and award of the first Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for 10 aircraft. The HH-60W is an all-new helicopter based on the proven UH-60M Black Hawk and customized for the U.S. Air Force’s rescue mission.
“This second contract award demonstrates the confidence the U.S. Air Force has in Sikorsky’s proven ability to deliver and support the next generation combat search and rescue helicopter,” said Greg Hames, Sikorsky’s CRH Program Director. “Our team works daily – and in close collaboration with our customer – to ensure we build and deliver this highly capable and much-needed helicopter to the warfighter.”
Since achieving the Milestone C decision from the Air Force in September 2019, which moved the CRH program into low rate initial production, the program continues to progress, reaching key milestones and executing an aggressive flight test schedule. Currently, seven CRH aircraft are in flight, two of which are with the Air Force at Duke Field, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, with all aircraft engaging in expanded flight tests to support the path forward to Required Assets Available (RAA). Low rate initial production of CRH Lot 1 aircraft major assembly is underway, with Lot 2 assembly to follow. The program remains on track to meet the contract delivery of RAA in 2020.
The HH-60W arrived on Feb. 27 at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, the site of the annual Air Force Association (AFA) Air Warfare Symposium, offering a first-hand look of the much-anticipated aircraft to service members who perform critical search and rescue operations. The Air Force also assigned the new helicopter its proper name – Jolly Green II – in a name reveal event hosted by Barbara M. Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force.
“We respect the long tradition of assigning a moniker that communicates the CSAR mission. Jolly Green II is a fitting tribute to its history and to airmen and women worldwide,” said Dana Fiatarone, Sikorsky’s Vice President, Army and Air Force Systems. “The name is greatly respected by our workforce – past and present – and it’s an honor to build this critical aircraft for the Air Force and bring it to the symposium today to provide our customer with the opportunity to view the Jolly Green II in person. We look forward to continued production and executing on the recent Lot 2 contract award.”
The HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter is significantly more capable and reliable than its predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk. The aircraft hosts a new fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the main fuel tank on a UH-60M Black Hawk, giving the Air Force crew an extended range and more capability to rescue those injured in the battlespace. The HH-60W specification drives more capable defensive systems, vulnerability reduction, weapons, cyber-security, environmental, expanded adverse weather sensor capabilities, and more comprehensive net-centric requirements than currently held by the HH-60G.
The U.S. Air Force program of record calls for 113 helicopters to replace the Pave Hawks, which perform critical combat search and rescue (CSAR) and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services. A total of nine aircraft will be built at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Connecticut, facility during the Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program ― four EMD aircraft and five System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA).