Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday that its Combat Rescue Helicopter, the HH-60W, has passed critical design review and is cleared to begin assembly, test, and evaluation. “This milestone is an important achievement and demonstrates Sikorsky and the Air Force are well aligned on the technical requirements of the HH-60W,” said Tim Healy, CRH program director, in a company press release. “We got here by conducting several milestones on or ahead of schedule, and we are committed to staying on that track as we build the first HH-60W aircraft.” In 2014, Sikorsky was awarded a $1.28 billion engineering and manufacturing development contract for the CRH, which included the delivery of four helicopters. The next year, Lockheed acquired Sikorsky along with its CRH work. The Air Force plans to buy up to 112 of the Black Hawk derivative helicopters for its search and rescue mission. In January, the Air Force exercised its first option to request five more HH-60Ws for $203 million.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.