The U.S. Air Force’s new combat search and rescue helicopter, the HH-60W Jolly Green II, completed its developmental test program at Eglin Air Force Base, April 13. The final test by the Sikorsky and Air Force team was on the aircraft’s weapon systems. The goal of the test was to both demonstrate the performance of the weapons while optimizing weapon-system configurations. The result of those labors ensured both the warfighter and the program’s decision-makers were well-informed on the Jolly Green II’s performance.
The test efforts began May 2019 with the first HH-60W flight. The aircraft arrived at Eglin AFB to the 413th FLTS November 2019. The integrated test team accumulated more than 1,100 flight test hours across six aircraft testing the full spectrum of aircraft systems. Some of the notable developmental tests included aircraft performance, communications systems, environmental tests at McKinley Climatic Lab, aerial refueling, data links, defensive systems, cabin systems, rescue hoist and live-fire of three weapon systems.
“I am incredibly proud of the many people from so many organizations who have come together to pull off a really challenging test program,” said Lt. Col. Wayne Dirkes, the 413 FLTS commander. “The team’s relentless focus on keeping the end in mind, aligning activity with their goals and moving forward quickly with discipline resulted in execution of a safe and highly successful test program in the face of incredible pressure.”
The test aircraft will be modified for operational use before being transferred to their respective Air Force rescue unit. The Jolly Green II’s developmental test mission will move to the Combat Search and Rescue Combined Test Force for follow-on testing at Nellis AFB, Nevada in 2022. The HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter is significantly more capable and reliable than its predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk. The aircraft hosts a new fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the main fuel tank on a UH-60M Black Hawk, giving the Air Force crew extended range and more capability to rescue those injured in the battle space.