Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Sikorsky announced Tuesday the first HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter Weapons System and Operational Flight Trainers are being assembled for delivered to the U.S. Air Force.
The Lockheed Martin subsidiary expects to complete the HH-60W training systems at contractor FlightSafety International's facility in Broken Arrow, Okla., in early 2019, the parent company said in a release.
The Weapons System Trainer will be based at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., which houses the primary HH-60W training unit. The Operational Flight Trainer will be at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., site of the first operational unit.
Combat Air Forces Distributed Mission Operations networking will permit the simulators to link with other flight systems for training purposes of the entire flight crew in sophisticated scenarios.
"I am excited to get these trainers in the hands of the U.S. Air Force Rescue Warriors," Director of Air Force Programs Tim Healy said in a statement.
"The combat rescue mission is uniquely challenging in that it requires much of the mission planning to occur while in flight rather than prior to flight. This is due to the time-critical nature of the mission and the reality that the threat, location and condition of isolated personnel to be rescued are not fully known prior to takeoff," Healy said.
The HH-60W version of the Blackhawk medium-lift helicopter, known as the "Whiskey" variant, is designed for long-range search and rescue missions.
It can mount many types of weapons systems for hostile landing zones and carries sensors and countermeasures. It has identical engines to the standard UH-60M Blackhawk, allowing easier logistics and maintenance.
The UH-60 Black Hawk is the primary medium-lift transport helicopter of the U.S. Army and several other nations where it has been exported. It has been produced in many variants to perform a wide-variety of missions.