Two HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters have arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, to begin developmental testing with the 413th Flight Test Squadron, according to an Air Force press release.
The HH-60W is the Air Force’s replacement to the legacy HH-60G, which supports personnel recovery. The service declared milestone C for the program Sept. 24, allowing it to enter low-rate initial production, and intends to procure 113 helicopters through 2026.
The Air Force has already bought 10 HH-60Ws in Lot 1 and plans to purchase another 12 in Lot 2 next spring, Leah Garton, an Air Combat Command spokeswoman, told Inside Defense in a Nov. 1 email.
If the federal government is constrained to fiscal year 2019 production quantities under a year-long continuing resolution, the service will only buy 10 helicopters during this next purchase. A CR that went into effect Oct. 1 is set to expire Nov. 21, and lawmakers anticipate passing another.
Meanwhile, the current HH-60W program schedule projects initial operational test and evaluation to begin during the second quarter of FY-21 at Moody AFB, GA, Garton said. That will not occur until “ACC’s approval that all required aircraft, trainers, spares and support equipment are available, as well as trained pilots and maintainers to fly and maintain the aircraft.”