Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky subsidiary completed the first flight of its HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter this Friday, where the search and rescue aircraft's capabilities were assessed at the company's site in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Sikorsky said Friday the flight test comes as part of an Air Force program that seeks to acquire 113 new HH-60Ws. Compared to the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters that currently support the military branches' personnel recovery operations, the new HH-60W model can hold almost twice as much fuel as the HH-60G, in addition to being designed for improved defense.
Greg Hames, director of Sikorsky's combat rescue helicopter program, said the company will commence aircraft system qualification activities following the test flight.
"Increased survivability is key and we greatly anticipate the added capabilities this aircraft will provide," said Edward Stanhouse, Chief, U.S. Air Force Helicopter Program Office.
Sikorsky plans to build nine HH-60Ws at its Stratford, Conn. facility as part of the Air Force program's engineering and manufacturing development phase.