Boeing enters the Combat Search and Rescue Vehicle Acquisition race
By Mike Hanlon
September 15, 2005
September 16, 2005 The Boeing Company has announced its entry in the U.S. Air Force combat search and rescue aircraft program, the advanced HH-47 CSAR-X tandem rotor aircraft. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command will be releasing a final RFP for aircraft for combat search and rescue missions (CSAR) in the near future and a small but elite field of contenders is assembling. The HH-47 will line up against the V-22 tiltrotor, the US101 helicopter and the H-92 Sikorsky for the opportunity to replace the HH-60G combat-search-and-rescue helicopter.
“The HH-47 Boeing is offering to the US. Air Force is a combat proven and technologically proven solution. This option is in line with our vision of being the preferred supplier, integrator and teammate of the Air Force customer,” said Chris Raymond, vice president – Business Development, Boeing Air Force Systems.
Built on a new airframe, the Boeing HH-47 CSAR-X rescue aircraft is equipped with advanced countermeasures and survivability enhancements similar to those utilized in U.S. Special Operations MH-47G heavy assault rotorcraft. With its proven long-range performance, the special operations helicopter is multi-mission capable with significant combat experience, at high altitudes, in austere environments and with limited visibility. Military worldwide including the Netherlands Air Force, United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, Egyptian Air Force, Singapore, Japan, Australia and many more currently use this Boeing platform.
“This aircraft has a history of performing search, rescue and humanitarian missions around the world,” said Michael J. Tkach, vice president, Boeing Rotorcraft Systems. “The configuration that meets the customer’s requirements is in active production and, as such, is a low risk choice for the U.S. Air Force.”
The HH-47 is fully equipped and includes a net-ready cockpit, forward-looking infrared radar, terrain-following-terrain avoidance radar, and is capable of in-flight refueling. The aircraft also has a special corrosion protection for the fuselage and rescue hoist. In addition to improved power, avionics, vibration reduction and transportability enhancements, the HH-47 CSAR-X model will feature an environmentally controlled patient treatment area, a 48-inch starboard door, rotor blade de-icing and wire strike protection. The aircraft is compliant with key performance parameters, and incorporates the advanced functionality to perform demanding CSAR missions.
“Utilizing today’s technology expands the range of improvements in this aircraft,” says Jack Dougherty, director of Boeing helicopter programs. “The Common Avionics Architecture System cockpit makes the aircraft fully compliant with digital battlefield requirements.” Adding the latest joint capability, like Link 16, furthers the dynamic flexibility of this aircraft.
The HH-47 has a fully coupled autopilot, integrated multimode radar for nap-of-the-earth and low-level flight operations in the clouds, or in extremely poor visibility conditions. Improved digital maps, greater situational awareness, mission planning and management capability enable flight crews to conduct missions with pinpoint accuracy.
This search and rescue aircraft features more powerful and efficient T-55-GA-714A engines with full authority digital electronic control. The engines each produce 4,868 maximum shaft horsepower, which enables the aircraft to reach speeds in excess of 175 mph and provides the capability to transport a payload of up to 21,016 lbs. With its internal auxiliary fuel tanks, the HH-47 CSAR -X is capable of self-deployment over 1,160 nautical miles without refueling. The new aircraft will be equipped with an improved air transportability kit, fully compliant with time requirements, to simplify aft pylon removal and cut build-up time, making strategic deployment a greater option.
This aircraft has a reputation for reliability and versatility spanning 40 years of service as a combat, multi-force aircraft. Beyond combat assault, in high altitudes and severe weather conditions, the platform is deployed wherever humanitarian needs arise. Most recently, the aircraft was widely used in the multi-national tsunami efforts for rescue, recovery, and medical evacuation and transport operations and is participating in the recovery efforts on the U.S. Gulf Coast.