The Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter achieved its first flight at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida.
The company say that this is an important step toward bringing this all-new aircraft to service members to perform critical search and rescue operations.
The aircraft, developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company and based on the proven UH-60M Black Hawk, is customised for the U.S. Air Force ‘s rescue mission.
Total flight time was approximately 1.2 hours and included hover control checks, low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield.
“This achievement is yet another vital step toward a low rate initial production decision and getting this much-needed aircraft and its advanced capabilities to the warfighter,” said Dana Fiatarone, vice president, Sikorsky Army & Air Force Systems.
“We are very pleased with the results of today’s flight and look forward to a productive and informative flight test program.”
The flight paves the way for a Milestone C production decision in September 2019, per the original baseline schedule say the company, to which both Sikorsky and the US Air Force are committed.
A second HH-60W helicopter is expected to enter flight test next week, with a third and fourth aircraft entering flight test this summer. These aircraft will provide critical data over the course of the programme which will enable the US Air Force to make an informed production decision.
“The HH-60W’s first flight is the culmination of significant development and design advances. We are excited to now move forward to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program,” said Greg Hames, director of the Combat Rescue Helicopter programme.
“Together with the Air Force, our team is motivated and committed to advancing this program and delivering this superior aircraft to our airmen and women.”