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Sikorsky, Lockheed to pursue USAF's HH-60 Recap program

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Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky will offer an advanced version of Sikorsky’s UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter as the replacement to the Air Force’s aging HH-60G aircraft (pictured). US Air Force photo.

WASHINGTON (BNS): Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Lockheed Martin will compete jointly for the contract to replace the US Air Force’s fleet of combat search and rescue helicopters.

The two companies signed a teaming agreement formalizing their intent to offer an advanced version of Sikorsky’s UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter for the Air Force’s HH-60 Personnel Recovery Recapitalization program (HH-60 Recap). The agreement positions Sikorsky as prime contractor, with Lockheed Martin as the major subsystems supplier.

The HH-60 Recap program seeks to replace the 112 existing HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter fleet with an equal number of new aircraft requiring minimum airframe modification or mission systems development. The initial operational capability of eight aircraft — four trainers and four mission-ready aircraft, plus test aircraft — is expected in fiscal year 2015, Lockheed said.

“Our team has the resources and experience to rapidly deliver the proven UH-60M airframe design with mature situational awareness sensors and mission systems,” said Scott Starrett, president of Sikorsky Military Systems.

“We believe a UH-60M aircraft missionized for the complexities of the combat search and rescue mission will fit seamlessly into established Air Force training and logistics operations, thus providing a fiscally responsible and reliable platform for rescue operations.”

Sikorsky submitted a response to the US Air Force’s HH-60 Recap request for information on April 23. The document details how the UH-60M helicopter would be manufactured and integrated as a low-risk, off-the-shelf solution for the combat search and rescue mission.

Operational with the US Army (including as a medevac helicopter in the HH-60M configuration), the UH-60M features a strengthened airframe, wider rotor blades and more powerful engines than earlier-design Black Hawk helicopters.

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