Kirtland Will Receive New Rescue Helicopters First

Kirtland AFB, N.M., will be the first base to receive the next-generation combat rescue helicopter, a New Mexico senator announced. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said in a statement this week that Kirtland’s 58th Special Operations Wing will get the first new helicopter in 2020. The base currently has 14 HH-60G Pave Hawks, and each will be replaced by 2028. The wing at Kirtland is the main training site for rescue pilots. The new HH-60W helicopter, which is based on the Army’s Blackhawk UH-60M, in May completed a preliminary design review, which identified operations and maintenance challenges for contractor Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky in June 2014 received a $1.28 billion contract for the replacement program.