This new Combat Rescue Helicopter is one step closer to the fleet

Lockheed Martin announced Oct. 25 the successful conduct of the Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) Program Training Systems Critical Design Review. This event prepares the CRH program to proceed to assembly, test, and evaluation of the HH-60W helicopter’s training systems.

This marks an important step in developing maintenance and aircrew training devices, courseware products, and the training required to support the initial CRH maintenance and aircrew cadre. This progress is critical to the smooth entry of the HH-60W aircraft into the US Air Force fleet.

The joint Sikorsky and Air Force teams met over four days in September with key program participants from government and industry for an in-depth review.

Those attending included leaders from the USAF and key suppliers who took part in technical presentations. Operational combat rescue community representatives from USAF Air Education and Training Command and Air Combat Command also played an important role in the Critical Design Review.

California Air National Guard pararescuemen of the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., climb up a moving rope ladder, from the chilly waters outside the Golden Gate Bridge, up to a HH-60G Pave Hawk. USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Lance Cheung.

California Air National Guard pararescuemen of the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., climb up a moving rope ladder, from the chilly waters outside the Golden Gate Bridge, up to a HH-60G Pave Hawk. USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Lance Cheung.

The USAF program of record calls for 112 helicopters to replace the USAF’s aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which perform critical combat search and rescue operations as well as personnel recovery for all US military services.

“I am really excited about achieving yet another program milestone in support of a six-month accelerated schedule. This capability is badly needed by the USAF rescue warriors that have continually engaged in combat operations since 1991. Sikorsky is absolutely committed to them and the accelerated schedule,” said Tim Healy, Sikorsky CRH program director. “The aircraft production is well under way, and with our training system design well understood by all parties, we can now begin assembly of the training devices and courseware as well.”

Also Read: These photos show how many amazing jobs the H-60 helicopter can do

The $1.5 billion Engineering Manufacturing & Development contract includes development and integration of the next generation combat rescue helicopter and mission systems. This includes delivery of nine HH-60W helicopters as well as six aircrew and maintenance training devices and instructional courseware designed specifically for the HH-60W aircraft. The training devices run the spectrum from full motion simulators, full aircraft maintenance trainers, and discrete “part task training devices” for aircraft systems such as avionics, rescue hoist, and landing gear.

The flight simulators will conform to the highest FAA standards and include the capability to link with other simulators on the Combat Air Forces Distributed Mission Operations network. The flight simulators will be used to train the full aircrew allowing pilots and special mission aviators to train together. Avionics desktop trainers will have an array of touch screens mimicking the “glass cockpit” and include the ability to learn aircraft systems troubleshooting while in a classroom or squadron environment.

Artist rendering of the Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter. Image from Lockheed Martin.

Artist rendering of the Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter. Image from Lockheed Martin.

The part task training devices are designed to train maintenance personnel and to provide hands-on training in operations, servicing, inspection, and component removal and installation.

The instructional courseware will provide interactive instruction and computer-based training for HH-60W maintainers and operators.

“This is an important step forward for the CRH program. The CRH team is working hard to provide our warfighters the capability they require to continue to conduct the critical personnel recovery mission far into the future. Having highly capable training devices and courseware that mirror aircraft capability absolutely underpins our ability to perform rescue operations,” said Dave Schairbaum, USAF CRH program manager. “This CRH training system will provide well-trained aircrew and aircraft maintainers to conduct this demanding mission.”

First flight of the HH-60W aircraft is expected in late 2018. Training devices and courseware are expected to be ready for training in early 2020.

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