Don’t Let the Airframe Fool You

Although the Air Force’s new HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter is a slimmed-down reboot of the cancelled CSAR-X rescue platform, the CRH will share many of its performance requirements, Air Combat Command officials told Air Force Magazine. While the HH-60W will be built on Sikorsky’s H-60 airframe, “it will be different in many ways” from the Air Force’s legacy HH-60G Pave Hawk model, said William Young, ACC’s personnel recovery weapons systems requirements chief. The payload, for starters, is an area of improvement, said Maj. Joel Soukup, rotary wing branch chief in ACC’s personnel recovery requirements shop. ACC wants the HH-60W to be able to pick up two patients simultaneously on more mission profiles. Currently, with a fully loaded maximum gross weight of around 22,000 pounds for systems, crew, and fuel, the HH-60G is dependent on air refueling support to execute longer and higher flying missions, said Soukup. Personnel recovery planners also want to integrate sensors and flight systems more uniformly in the HH-60W, he said. This equipment is far more “federated” in the Pave Hawk, he noted. Planners also want upgrades to defensive systems, to provide better field of view for the flight crew to detect threats. The new platform, most importantly, will offer improvements in maintainability, said Soukup. HH-60G mission-capable rates are floating around 75 percent and fleet availability is around 59 percent, as of early April, according to ACC.