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There is "a significant" foreign market for Sikorsky's new Combat Rescue Helicopter, shown here in an artist's rendering, company CRH program director Tim Healy told Air Force Magazine. Sikorsky illustration

The new Combat Rescue Helicopter will be "essentially ... a long-range, highly missionized Black Hawk" helicopter for the Air Force, Tim Healy, Sikorsky's CRH program director, told Air Force Magazine. The Air Force awarded Sikorsky a $1.28 billion contract on June 26 to develop a replacement for USAF's aging, war-torn HH-60 Pave Hawk. The contract covers the procurement of the first four helos, which will be designated test assets, said Healy. However, under the contract, Sikorsky is "responsible [for making] sure that [test aircraft are] in an operational configuration and they'll be then transferred to the Air Force in either a training or operational load," he added.  The aircraft will be built to an Air Force standard and will be mission-ready right off the line, instead of requiring post-production modification to meet Air Force standards. CRH also will include "significant differences and improvements" over the HH-60, including "a much-improved rotor blade," "a more powerful engine," "a stronger airframe," "a different core, [and] a different tip treatment that makes it much more efficient and produces more lift." Healy said CRH also will be "much more efficient in cruise flight," which will allow it to travel 50-60 more nautical miles than its predecessor on the same amount of fuel. The first two Sikorsky helicopters under the recently awarded CRH contract will be delivered to the Air Force in 2018, with two more to follow in 2019.