The 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters at Moody Air Force Base, Nov. 5. Aircrew from the 41st Rescue Squadron out of Moody AFB and the 413th Flight Test Squadron and 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron, both at Duke Field, Florida, flew the aircraft from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Training Academy. The delivery of the new model is significant to the personnel recovery mission as it begins the transition from the predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which has been flown for more than 26 years. The Air Force will continue to utilize the HH-60G model until the transition is complete.
The HH-60W comes equipped with a wide range of capabilities that will ensure its crews continue carrying out their critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services and allies in contested and diverse environments. The primary mission of the HH-60W helicopter will be conducting day or night operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war. The platform will also be tasked to perform military operations other than war, including civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space-flight support, and rescue command and control.
The service in February unveiled the name of its new combat rescue helicopter, which follows the tradition of the Vietnam-era HH-3E Jolly Green and the HH-53 Super Jolly Green. The original chopper earned its nickname from a mashup of its green exterior paint and a toga-clad, green-hued cartoon giant featured in a 1960s-era canned-vegetable advertising campaign. The delivery of the two helicopters marks the beginning of the service’s transition away from the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which airmen have been flying for more than 26 years. The service will continue to use Pave Hawks until the planned acquisition of 108 Jolly Green IIs is complete.
The Jolly Green II features many overall improvements over its predecessor, including better defensive system, hover performance, electrical capacity, avionics, cooling, weapons and cyber-security. The helicopter’s primary mission will be conducting operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war, both day and night. It will also be employed for non-warfighting operations such as civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, NASA space-flight support and rescue command and control.The Air Force developed the original HH-3E helicopter, dubbed the Jolly Green Giant by U.S. troops, by modifying Sikorsky’s CH-3 transport helicopter.