I’m not sure why this older post about the Combat Rescue Helicopter Program has suddenly attracted a lot of traffic today, but it has.
There was a post elsewhere from back in December talking about the HH-60W at DefenseTech.
And here’s a post, undated, from SOFMag. This particular post hits on the same chord I was harping on years ago.
That being said, the HH-47 offered significant improvements in performance over the HH-60 – and beat the competitors by wide margins in some areas as well. It had a range of over 2000 kilometers without aerial refueling, which is significantly higher than the S-92 (just under 1500 kilometers) and the US101 (about 1400 kilometers). The maximum unrefuelled range of an HH-60 is just under 820 kilometers. This means that the HH-47 would be able to search longer than both the present CSAR helicopter and its competitors for a downed pilot, or search further away than the other options without having to refuel. This means that there will be much less risk to the HC-130 tankers (which were first deployed in 1964). The HH-47 would also have had a higher ceiling (18,500 feet) than the HH-60 (14,000 feet), or its competitors (the H-92’s ceiling is 13,780 feet, while the US101’s is 14,000 feet).
The OBVIOUS choice for a CSAR platform was a variant of the MH-47. Common sense, however, is not the metrics by which weapons procurement programs are run.