HH-60W helicopters arrive at Edwards Air Force Base for flight tests

By Sara Sirota / February 19, 2021 at 12:00 PM

Two HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters have arrived at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, from Eglin AFB, FL, to undergo flight test operations, the service announced in a press release earlier this week.

The Sikorsky-built CRHs -- dubbed Jolly Green II -- will replace the legacy HH-60G Pave Hawks as the Air Force's primary search-and-rescue helicopter. The program is nearing the end of development testing and expects to shift to initial operational test and evaluation this summer. Sikorsky, meanwhile, is working on the service's initial production order of 10 HH-60Ws and is slated to begin deliveries in the coming months.

The Air Force release doesn't specify what kind of flight activities are occurring now at Edwards AFB, but an executive with Sikorsky owner Lockheed Martin told reporters earlier this week that aircraft were traveling to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA for radar warner receiver testing.

Dana Fiatarone, Lockheed's vice president of Army and Air Force systems, said he anticipates this evaluation, as well as final weapon system tests, will be completed in the next month, marking the end of DT requirements.

This will allow Sikorsky to concentrate efforts on production. In addition to the first lot that the company is currently working on, Sikorsky has already received a contract for the second production order and Fiatarone said he expects a third award for 19 helicopters over the summer.