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09:13 AM, May 18, 2019
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Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk (Source : Lockheed Martin)

Sikorsky's HH-60W Combat Rescue helicopter completed its first test flight in the company's Florida site.

The aircraft is based off the UH-60M Black hawk and is customized for the US Air force's Rescue missions. Total flight time was approximately 1.2 hours and included hover control checks, low-speed flight, and a pass of the airfield, the company said in a statement Friday.

The second HH-60W helicopter is expected to enter flight test next week, with a third and fourth aircraft entering flight test this summer. These aircraft will provide critical data over the course of the program which will enable the Air Force to make an informed production decision.

The HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter is significantly more capable and reliable than its predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk. The aircraft hosts a new fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the internal tank on a UH-60M Black Hawk, giving the Air Force crew extended range and more capability to rescue those injured in the battle space. The HH-60W specification drives more capable defensive systems, vulnerability reduction, weapons, cyber-security, environmental, and net-centric requirements than currently held by the HH-60G.

The US Air Force program of record calls for 113 helicopters to replace the Pave Hawks, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all US military services. A total of nine aircraft will be built at Sikorsky's Stratford, Connecticut, facility during the Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program ― four EMD aircraft and five System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA).

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