We’ve had a couple of interesting – and in some ways overlapping – stories on our defence channel since the end of last week about the future of personnel rescue.
First it was good news, of sorts, for the Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin team hoping to build a fleet of CRH-60s for the US Air Force’s combat rescue helicopter deal. That’s because, while Congress has approved funds worth $334 million for fiscal year 2014, that single-year sum looks like falling short of providing the long-term commitment needed for a production contract to be awarded.
Then, our contributor Erik Schechter filed on something called the Black Knight Transformer: a hybrid vertical take-off and landing aircraft and ground vehicle, which California company Advanced Tactics hopes to fly soon. As you can see from this company-sourced image, the technology demonstrator doesn’t exactly look combat ready, but could provide a means of extracting casualties from urban spots too dangerous for conventional helicopters to risk landing in.
The concept has attracted some level of interest from both the US Army and Marine Corps communities, but there’s no suggestion of a programme of record existing to pursue an operational system coming any time soon.mer