Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force plans to award Sikorsky with a contract for upgrades to its new HH-60W combat rescue helicopter in a five-year contract totaling $980.7 million.
The sole source contract for Sikorsky, a division of Lockheed Martin, will bring the capabilities of the "Jolly Green II," designed in 2012, to modern specifications ahead of full rate production in fiscal year 2022, according to an award justification.
"During the last five years of EMD [engineering and manufacturing development] execution, the original CRH [combat rescue helicopter] requirements baseline has evolved as a result of changes in threat conditions and evolving mission requirements," the justification statement says.
"The response to this operational need is the driver for the continuance of new capability development and integration into the CRH baseline and subsequent fielding to each main operating base," it says.
The helicopter, known as Jolly Green II in reference to the HH-60G Pave Hawk it replaces, is an improved variant of the combat-proven UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter, officials have said.
It will eventually replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk a medium-lift, combat search-and-rescue helicopter, which entered service in 1982.
Ordered in 2014, the new helicopter is designed for deployment in casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation missions, civil search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and insertion or extraction of combat forces.
Sikorsky has a contract to build the first 22 of 112 planned purchases by the Defense Department. The Air Force took delivery of the first two in November 2020.
The upgrades include avionics hardware and software integration, installation and verification, but otherwise were not enumerated by Sikorsky or in the contract award.