First Navy CH-60S Arrives at Pax River
The first production CH-60S helicopter has arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River to start the Development Testing (DT) program
US Navy, May 25, 2000 - PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland - The first production CH-60S helicopter has arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., marking the start of the Navy's Development Testing (DT) program scheduled for this yea
CH-60S aircraft Number 2 arrived on May 15 after the two hour flight from Sikorsky Aircraft's main plant in Stratford, Conn. The aircraft was enthusiastically welcomed by several U.S. Navy and Sikorsky Aircraft officials
Development testing will start this month and will be performed by the Naval Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron. Later this fall, the CH-60S will undergo Operation Test and Evaluation with VX-1 to pave the way for fleet introduction.
Following successful testing at Patuxent River, the CH-60S will enter Fleet introduction at NAS North Island, Calif., where Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Three (HC-3) will train pilots, aircrew and maintenance personnel on the CH-60S. The CH-60S will see its initial Fleet service in 2001 at HC-5 in Guam. A Milestone III Full Rate Production decision is expected in 2001.
Aircraft Number 2 will be joined at Patuxent River in June by Aircraft Number 3 when both aircraft will support flight testing. Aircraft Number 1 is continuing structural airworthiness and performance flight testing in Stratford and will transfer to Patuxent River later this summer.
The CH-60S completed its first flight on January 27, 2000 at Stratford. The CH-60S represents the first newly designed rotary-wing 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.
The Navy has a procurement objective of more than 200 CH-60S aircraft to replace the CH-46D in support of the Navy's Helicopter Master Plan. 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 five CH-60S aircraft in 2000 and an option aircraft in 2001. Sikorsky has also been awarded a follow on production contract award for 14 Lot II aircraft for deliveries from July 2000 to June 2001. In total, Sikorsky is scheduled to deliver 10 CH-60S aircraft to the U.S. Navy in 2000.
The CH-60S is an amalgam of the Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopter and its Seahawk variant. It is a baseline Blackhawk configuration with Naval Hawk engines, rotor system and dynamics, including the Seahawk's automatic rotor blade folding system, folding tail pylon, improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and automatic flight control computer. The CH-60S also features a Lockheed Martin developed glass cockpit which will ensure commonality with the SH-60R. The glass cockpit incorporates four 8-by-10 inch Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Displays, dual integrated programmable keysets, dual Flight Management Computers, an Audio Management Computer, and a dual Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System.
The Blackhawk airframe provides the larger cabin volume and double-door feature needed for cargo and passenger transport. The CH-60S incorporates a unique integrated cargo handling system. Also from Blackhawk, the CH-60S retains provisions for mounting the External Stores Support System (ESSS). This will offer a variety of weapon and fuel tank options that will be very useful for a wide range of missions, including Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) and Special Warfare Support (SWS). The robust CH-60S retains the BLACK HAWK 9,000 pound external cargo hook, and mounts a Seahawk rescue hoist for SAR missions.
In April 1997, the Navy awarded Sikorsky a contract to build a YCH-60S helicopter demonstrator to verify the design concept and validate mission suitability. A joint Navy-Sikorsky crew conducted a shipboard demonstration in the YCH-60 later that year. The highly successful YCH-60 Demonstrator Program created the Milestone II Low Rate Initial Production decision in May 1998.
Versatility is the basic design concept of the CH-60S helicopter, which will be called upon for multi-mission 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.