USAF receives first two HH-60W combat helicopters

The first two operational Sikorsky HH-60W Jolly Green II combat rescue helicopters were delivered to the US Air Force (USAF) at Moody Air Force Base (AFB), Georgia, on November 5.

HH-60W [USAF/Andrea Jenkins]
The USAF's first two operational Sikorsky HH-60W Jolly Green II combat rescue helicopters pictured during their delivery flight to Moody AFB, Georgia, on November 5, 2020. USAF/Senior Airman Hayden Legg

The helicopters – serials 17-14488 and 17-14489 – were flown to the Georgia base from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Training Academy in Stuart, Florida, and are the first of 108 examples for the USAF. Aircrew from Moody AFB’s 41st Rescue Squadron and the 413th Flight Test Squadron and 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron, both of which operate from Duke Field, Florida, delivered the aircraft. Leadership from the 23rd Wing and the 347th Rescue Group were present at Moody AFB for the aircraft’s arrival.

In USAF service, the HH-60W will eventually replace the Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk, which has been operated in a combat search and rescue (CSAR) role since 1982. The Jolly Green II will continue the CSAR mission and will also be tasked with conducting humanitarian assistance/disaster response, medical evacuation, civil SAR, rescue command and control, and NASA spaceflight support missions.

HH-60W [USAF/Andrea Jenkins]
Sikorsky HH-60W Jolly Green II - serial 17-14488 - taxis by after arriving at Moody AFB, Georgia, on November 5, 2020. The first two HH-60Ws to be delivered will be operated by the 41st Rescue Squadron. USAF/Andrea Jenkins

The HH-60W is an improved version of Sikorsky’s UH-60M Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopter, which was developed under the USAF’s Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) programme. Sikorsky boasts that the Jolly Green II is “significantly more capable and reliable than its predecessor”, the HH-60G, with its extended range and enhanced survivability. The HH-60W features improved defensive systems, hover performance, electrical capacity, cooling, avionics, weapons and cyber-security.