Combat rescue helicopter completes technical readiness level

17th August 2017
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
Combat rescue helicopter completes technical readiness level

A critical component of Lockheed Martin’s Tactical Mission System for the US Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH), the AN/APR-52 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), recently achieved Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 6 assessment following a successful demonstration at the US Air Force Integrated Demonstrations and Applications Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

This key milestone provides confidence in the technical maturity of the AN/APR-52 RWR more than one year before HH-60W’s first flight test.

The Integrated Demonstrations and Applications Laboratory is a division of the Sensors Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory and specialises in the evaluation of electronic warfare technology by providing high fidelity simulations in relevant threat environments, similar to what the system will see in actual combat and specific regions of the world, representing significant risk reduction for the programme.

“Although extensive contractor testing was previously conducted on the AN/APR-52 RWR, the USAF laboratory provides a unique capability that allows high fidelity demonstration of the system in a true operational environment. The successful demonstration is a key milestone to ensure the system will meet the needs of the warfighter. The complete electronic warfare suite will significantly improve detection of current and emerging threats which increases the survivability of the HH-60W,” said Bob Adams, Lockheed Martin Electronic Warfare Programs Director.

The Lockheed Martin AN/APR-52 RWR is an all-digital, four-channel radar warning receiver. It is designed to process a large number of signals simultaneously to more quickly and accurately identify threats to the aircrew. The AN/APR-52 RWR provides a high probability of detection for modern and emerging threats in very dense signal environments.

“The APR-52 represents a significant leap in radar warning performance for rotary wing aircraft,” said Tim Healy, Sikorsky CRH Program Director. “We are excited about its entry into service, and this highly successful demonstration significantly increases the confidence in our schedule.”

The US Air Force awarded Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, the Combat Rescue Helicopter contract in 2014. The USAF Program of Record calls for 112 helicopters to replace the Air Force’s rapidly aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all US military services. In May 2017, the CRH Programme conducted the Air Vehicle Critical Design Review, a crucial event that prepares the program to proceed to assembly, test, and evaluation of the HH-60W helicopter.

The HH-60W is an advanced variant of the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter design and features increased internal fuel capability for greater range. The CRH aircraft will feature GE T700-701D engines, composite wide-chord main rotor blades to sustain maneuverability at high density altitudes, and a new fatigue- and corrosion-resistant machined aero-structure to ensure reliability and availability to USAF operational units. The design includes an advanced Tactical Mission System integrating multiple sensors, data links, defensive systems, and other sources of intelligence information for use by combat rescue aircrews. The aircraft is designed with a weapons and cabin configuration specifically optimised for combat rescue and recovery operations.

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