First CH-60S Completes Initial Flight
The first production CH-60S helicopter for the US Navy made its first flight January 27, 2000
Sikorsky, January 27, 2000 - STRATFORD, Conn - The first production CH-60S helicopter made its initial flight here today before U.S. Navy and Sikorsky Aircraft officials.
The aircraft entered a hover and completed basic airworthiness checks before transitioning to a forward flight regime. The CH-60S then completed a short flight demonstrating basic aircraft maneuverability and handling qualities before landing.
After additional tests are completed at Sikorsky's Stratford plant, the aircraft will be headed to Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Md., this spring to complete U.S. Navy Development and Operational Testing.
The CH-60S represents the first newly designed rotary aircraft added to the U.S. Navy fleet since the HH-60H was introduced nearly a decade ago. It also marks a return of U.S. Navy production at Sikorsky. U.S. Navy H-60 deliveries came to a close in 1996 with the successful fulfillment of Navy Seahawk requirements.
Sikorsky completed the sale of the first two CH-60s Fleet Combat Support Helicopters to the U.S. Navy in December 1999. The Lot I contract awarded in September 1999 calls for delivery of six CH-60S aircraft through June 2000. A follow on contract award for Lot II aircraft is expected in 2000 for deliveries from July 2000 to June 2001. The Navy has a procurement objective of more than 200 CH-60S aircraft.
The CH-60S is an amalgam of the Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopter and its Seahawk variant. It is a baseline BLACK HAWK configuration with Naval Hawk Engines, rotor system and dynamics, including the Seahwak's automatic rotor blade folding system, folding tail pylon, an improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and automatic flight control computer. The CH-60S will also feature a glass cockpit developed to ensure commonality with the SH-60R.
The Blackhawk airframe provides the larger cabin volume and double-door feature needed for cargo and passenger transport. Also from Blackhawk, the CH-60S will retain provisions for mounting the External Stores Support System ESSS). This will offer a wide range of weapon and fuel tank options that will be very useful for a wide range of missions, including search and rescue (SAR).
The robust CH-60S retains the Blackhawk 9,000 pound external cargo capacity, and mounts a Seahawk rescue hoist for SAR missions. In April 1997, the Navy awarded Sikorsky a contract to build a CH-60S helicopter demonstrator to verify the design concept. A joint Navy-Sikorsky crew conducted a shipboard demonstration in the YCH-60 later that year.
Versatility is the basic design concept of the CH-60S helicopter, which will be called upon for naval operations including Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), Vertical On-board Delivery (VOD), amphibious and carrier search and Rescue (SAR), and remote site logistics missions. The Navy is expected to capitalize on CH-60S capabilities by expanding into future missions areas such as Airborne Mine Counter Measures, Combat Search and Rescue, Special Warfare Support, utilizing a variety of mission systems.