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Tue, Sep 26, 2006

Sikorsky Submits Final CSAR-X Proposal

Company Bets On Its HH-92 Superhawk

Aero-News has learned Sikorsky Aircraft presented its final proposal Monday to the US Air Force for the service's Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR-X) mission requirements. The company's proposal centers on the Sikorsky HH-92 Superhawk helicopter, which Sikorsky says meets the pressing US Air Force requirement to replace the Sikorsky HH-60G rescue helicopters currently in service.

As Aero-News has reported, the Air Force plans to acquire up to 141 aircraft in connection with the CSAR-X competition. The Air Force has an additional requirement for up to 71 aircraft for the service's follow-on Common Vertical Lift Support Platform (CVLSP) requirement to provide missile site security, VIP transport, and cargo and troop transport.

"The Air Force faces growing operational commitments with tighter budgets and manpower constraints," said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Mike Farage, Sikorsky's Air Force Government Business Manager. "Our HH-92 aircraft is right-sized for all missions -- one common cockpit with four cabin configurations to meet the combat search and rescue, missile site security, VIP transport, and cargo and troop transport missions. Our fleet experience shows it can sustain high operational tempos with far less maintenance than alternative aircraft."

The HH-92 helicopter is a military variant of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter that has sustained operational readiness rates of 97 percent in harsh environments that are 20 to 30 percent higher than military norms. Since entering service in 2004, S-92 helicopters have flown thousands of high-tempo, offshore oil operations, averaging just 2.5 maintenance man-hours per flight hour, about one-quarter of the figure of other medium and heavy lift helicopters in service today.

In less than two years of intense commercial service, 38 S-92 helicopters have logged more than 26,000 flight hours with some aircraft flying up to 160 hours per month and more than 1,400 hours per year.

The S-92 helicopter was designed to reduce routine maintenance activities by 80 percent and operating costs by 40 percent when compared to past-generation helicopters. "The Air Force has to maximize the availability and affordability of every combat asset and the HH-92 aircraft is built around systems that largely look after themselves," said Farage.

Sikorsky's HH-92 demonstrator aircraft features include quick-change interiors for diverse missions. It also proved to Air Force evaluators that the HH-92 can be prepared for deployment aboard Air Force jet transports in minutes rather than hours as required by other helicopters.

"It is the only CSAR-X alternative that enables the Air Force to prepare to deploy two helicopters on a C-17 or three on a C-5 within the two- to three-hour window of time required by the Air Force's request for proposal. That's an important consideration when you have to build combat power in-theater quickly," Farage said.

The HH-92 helicopter builds upon the S-92 helicopter, which is the only helicopter in its size class certified to the latest international standards for flaw tolerance, crashworthiness, and bird strike, lightning, and turbine burst protection.

The multi-mission MH-92 or CH-148 Cyclone is under development for the Canadian Forces' Maritime Helicopter Program. The S-92 aircraft has already been chosen to fly the coast guard search-and-rescue mission for the United Kingdom. The governments of Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Korea have also selected the aircraft for VIP transport.

FMI: www.sikorsky.com

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