Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky subsidiary is set to enter the flight-test phase for a pair of HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters being produced for the U.S. Air Force.
The company said Wednesday a flight readiness team is conducting ground run tests and installing final instrumentation in preparation for the maiden flights slated to occur before mid-2019.
The tests will take place at Sikorsky's West Palm Beach facility in Florida, after which the helicopters will enter the ready assets available phase.
According to Lockheed, the first HH-60W is fitted with an updated tactical mission kit that incorporates multiple defense, sensors and radar systems designed to support situational awareness.
"Having these initial HH-60W helicopters in West Palm Beach for flight test is an exciting time for the Sikorsky team,“ said Greg Hames, director of Sikorsky's CRH program.
“It is the first step toward a low rate initial production decision later this year, which will allow Sikorsky to provide a constant production flow of aircraft to the warfighter," he added.
Sikorsky will produce nine aircraft in Connecticut during the program's engineering and manufacturing development phase in support of the Air Force's goal to acquire 112 helicopters to succeed the HH-60G Pave Hawk.