Combat Rescue Helicopter completes 'trial of extremes'

By Sara Sirota / April 8, 2020 at 2:41 PM

The Air Force's new search-and-rescue aircraft that will replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk finished a month-long "trial of extremes" April 2, the service announced today.

A test HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter, manufactured by Sikorsky, performed various tasks in weather ranging from 120 degrees to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 mph winds during heavy rainfall. The trial occurred at the McKinley Climactic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, FL.

"Checking system performance under the stress of heat, cold, heavy wind and rain will give us real-world data regarding the helicopter's capability to perform the rescue mission worldwide in various environments, which is exactly what the operator needs to make solid employment decisions," Lt. Col. Ryan Coates, a pilot with the 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron, said in an Air Force statement.

In addition to evaluating the HH-60W's avionics, electronics, engine and other systems, testers examined the aircrew's ability to operate the helicopter in, for example, bulkier cold-weather gear.

The CRH will now return to Sikorsky's West Palm Beach, FL, testing facility for further evaluation, the Air Force's news release states.